BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Ebola virus is killing people in Western Africa even faster than before. It could affect more than 20,000 people before the epidemic is over.

It’s a race against time for scientists trying to find a way to stop it from right here in Maryland.

Tracey Leong explains an experimental vaccine will be tested on humans for the first time.

The first human trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine will begin next week in Maryland. Initial results could be available by the end of the year.

The World Health Organization predicts the Ebola outbreak could surpass 20,000 cases, affecting four countries in West Africa. With more than 3,000 confirmed cases, the outbreak doesn’t show signs of slowing.

“The way to contain this outbreak is by hospital capabilities, by isolation, by quarantine, by contact tracing. However, a vaccine would be an important addition,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci with the National Institutes of Health.

The NIH says it’s been working on vaccines for several years. Now they’re ready to test on humans.

“Take a vaccine that shows promise in an animal model that has never before been in humans and determine first its safety,” he said.

The first part of this multi-stage clinical trial will include 20 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 50. Testing will be done on the NIH campus in Bethesda.

Once they complete the safety study, phase two is with a larger sample. Phase three will determine if it works.

Currently, there is no vaccine for the deadly disease. But just this month, two American aid workers who contracted Ebola were cured after receiving an experimental drug, showing hope for the outbreak.

“I am incredibly thankful to all of those who were involved in my care,” said Ebola survivor Kent Brantly.

While it could take months to see results for the first phase of the Ebola vaccine, this plays a large role in expediting a treatment.

The same vaccine will also be tested in the United Kingdom, Mali and Gambia. There are also talks for testing in Nigeria.

The vaccine was co-developed with the health care company Glaxo Smith Kline.

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