BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Major news from a Baltimore based bio-tech firm. It’s the first in the world to report success with an Ebola vaccine that’s effective against the strain that’s killed thousands in West Africa.
Mary Bubala reports.
The labs of Baltimore’s Profectus BioSciences are now leading the fight to protect the human race from Ebola.
Jeff Meshulam is the president of Profectus BioSciences. He tells WJZ the company has received a $55 million investment for its vaccine research that exposed primates to a potent strain of Ebola.
“The monkeys are vaccinated with a single dose of our vaccine. Twenty-eight days later, they’re brought into a laboratory and they’re challenged. They’re challenged with a thousand lethal dosage equivalent of the actual strain that’s circulating, the Markona Strain,” said Jeff Meshulam, Profectus Biosciences. “The monkeys that were vaccinated were completely protected from disease and/or death.”
The breakthrough for Profectus is now on the pages of the journal Nature. And Baltimore again plays a significant role in the development and promise of an Ebola vaccine.
Last month, WJZ reported on another Ebola vaccine trial at the University of Maryland, aiming to treat health care workers on the front lines.
So far, the Ebola epidemic is slowing down. Only 30 new cases were reported last week. Some areas are now proclaimed “disease free.”
Still, for companies like Profectus, having a vaccine at the ready is essential.
Bubala: “When do you expect that this vaccine will be ready to use?”
Meshulam: “The need is–thank God–slowing down quite a bit, so it will give us time to really do this right. So we hope that we might be able to get approval sometime in 2017.”
The vaccine will be tested on humans in clinical trials starting in June. Thirty-nine people in Bethesda and Gaithersburg are already set to receive those injections.
The company also received a $9.5 million contract from the Department of Defense.