Two Ebola vaccines to be tested in Switzerland

Clinical trials of two experimental vaccines against the deadly Ebola virus are due to begin soon in Switzerland, the country's Tropical and Public Health Institute said on Thursday.

"Switzerland is playing a central role in the clinical trials of two vaccines against Ebola," Marcel Tanner, who heads the Basel-based institute, told Swiss public radio SRF.

Clinical trials should begin "as soon as possible in Geneva and Lausanne," he said.

The Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products and an ethics commission must give the green light before the trials can begin.

Around 100 people in Switzerland are set to take part in the tests, according to SRF.

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has so far infected more than 5,350 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing 2,630.

There is no licenced treatment or against the virus, one of the deadliest known to man, and the World Health Organization has endorsed rushing through experimental treatments and vaccines.

Switzerland would not be the only country hosting speedy clinical trials of potential Ebola vaccines.

Clinical trials of one such vaccine, developed by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, began in the United States at the beginning of the month with a handful of volunteers.

The vaccine, which has proven very effective in monkeys, has not so far shown signs of dangerous side effects. Results are due by the end of the year.

A team of researchers at Oxford in Britain are also preparing of the same vaccine on 60 healthy volunteers.

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© 2014 AFP

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