Beijing Institute of Biotechnology: Vaccine Clinical Trials in Sierra Leone

Freetown, Oct. 1, 2015 (MOHS) – A three day Ebola (Ad 5 – EBOV) Vaccine Phase II Clinical Training for Investigators ahead of the vaccine initiation in Sierra Leone has started at the Shangri La Resort conference hall Aberdeen in Freetown.

biotechFourth from R-L: Chief Medical Officer in group photograph with participants and organizers

Organized by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology China, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the systematic training tool includes good clinical practice, trial protocol and standard operating procedures.

Addressing the formal opening ceremony, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo reminded participants that three vaccine trials are currently ongoing in the country with the Ad5-EBOV now making the fourth to be tried in Sierra Leone.

biotech1Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo making the formal launching speech

He underscored the importance of the training and reiterated the Ministry of Health and Sanitation commitment to ensure that the Ad5-EBOV vaccine trial is successful, noting that the Ebola outbreak in the three West African countries and the threat in the sub region had an adverse effect on the country’s economy and the lives of the people. The loss of lives as a result of the Ebola, the Chief Medical Officer said is a concern to the government and the Ministry as it claimed the lives of many health professionals leaving gaps in the human resource base.

He described the previous vaccines as very effective and encouraged the Investigators to engage communities noting that we still have the challenge to contain the viral disease against other outbreak.

Dr. Kargbo on behalf of the Ministry and the government thanked the Chinese government and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology for what he described as an invaluable life-saving intervention, hoping that the mutual bilateral relationship between China and Sierra Leone would continue to grow from strength to strength.

The Case Management Lead, National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and Project Coordinator, Dr. Alie Wurie reiterated that this is the 4th vaccine trial in Sierra Leone and that the Ad 5 – EBOV clinical trial has been approved by the government of Sierra Leone. The preliminary report of the Ad 5-EBOV phase II clinical trial, Dr. Wurie said is very encouraging and that the selection of the participants, mostly Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses, and their Chinese counterpart is credible.

biotech2Case Management Lead, National Ebola Response Centre, Dr. Alie Hafsa Wurie

Dr. Wurie disclosed that 500 Sierra Leoneans between the ages 18-50 would be recruited. These he told his audience are crop of people that would be able to understand the content of informed consent and willing to complete the planned six months follow up.

In his remarks, Dr. Fengcai Zhu from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) China said their previous investigation shows that people in Sierra Leone are willing to take the vaccination, expressing the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

biotech3Dr. Fengcai Zhu Centre for Disease Control (CDC) China

He said two phases I clinical trials have already been conducted in China, with one of them conducted among 120 Chinese adults, and 61 among African adults who were living in China. The vaccine he maintained is safe and has what he referred to as high immunogenicity.

Dr. Zhu spoke on the good clinical practice as an international ethical and scientific quality standard for designing, conducting, recording and reporting trials towards quality assurance, and the safety and well-being of trial subjects. He thanked the Ministry, the government and people of Sierra Leone for the support and reemphasized the safety of the vaccine.

Other speakers include one of the sponsors Dr. Lihua Hou and Chairman for the occasion, Dr. James Russel.

JAK/KK/MOHS/SLENA