U.S. officials say a long-awaited major study of possible Ebola vaccines is set to begin in Liberia within a couple of weeks.

The study will compare two with dummy shots to test both safety and whether either of the shots really protects against the Ebola virus. The virus has devastated Liberia and two other West African countries over the past year.

New infections are falling, but Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says it's not too late for the vaccine study. Clusters of cases continue, and he says some participants would undergo special testing to see how their immune systems respond to the vaccine.

Fauci said up to 27,000 people may ultimately be enrolled. A smaller study also is being planned for Sierra Leone.