Since 2019, the Mbarara Research Center has been the site of the ZEBOVAC clinical trial, ponsored by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, which aims to provide additional information and evaluate the safety and immune response generated by an experimental two-dose Ebola vaccine regimen manufactured by Janssen Vaccines and Prevention. This vaccine regimen is based on a first injection of Ad26.ZEBOV, followed by MVA-BN-Filo 56 days later. This approach is designed to produce stronger and more durable immune responses.
In previous trials involving more than 6,000 people in Europe, the United States, and Africa, this vaccine regimen has shown safety and significant immunogenicity in humans. However, additional data are needed to demonstrate efficacy in humans.
ZEBOVAC enters its final phase
The Phase II, single-arm, open-label, non-randomized interventional trial, ZEBOVAC, currently being completed at the Mbarara Center included 800 frontline workers who are at increased risk of contracting Ebola. They include doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, cleaners, morgue attendants, and surveillance, ambulance, and burial crews. The task now is to compile the accumulated data and analyze it to determine the immune response of this vaccine regimen.
During his visit, Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu congratulated the center's teams for the high quality of their work, which will enable progress on the Ebola vaccine front: "the Zebovac trial was perfectly conducted by the Center and I hope that new collaborations between the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), the Ugandan research units of the Medical Research Council and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Epicentre will emerge soon."
Prof. Kaleebu also gave a lecture on “SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance and Vaccine Research at UVRI”.
The data from this trial should help provide more information and assist in the licensing of an Ebola vaccine, which is essential to control recurrent epidemics. The development of effective vaccines and treatments for Ebola is a global public health priority.