By Viktoria Sciacca
As one Belleville patient awaits Ebola test results at an Ottawa hospital, Canada is taking the necessary steps in making medical history.
The human clinical trials for the Canadian-made Ebola vaccination have begun at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland.
According to a Health Canada meeting on Monday, 20 vaccine samples will be tested on 40 healthy patients. It will be tested for appropriate dosage, assess safety, and diagnose side effects.
Health Canada sets high hopes for the vaccination, said Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose.
“This provides hope because if the Canadian vaccine is shown to be safe and effective, it will stop this devastating outbreak,” Ambrose said on Monday.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Gregory Taylor, who attended the tests, said Canada’s current measures to prevent Ebola “should be adequate” but need to be “strengthened”.
The vaccination has been tested on animals and is proven to prevent Ebola symptoms, and also can be taken after being infected to increase survival chances.
National Microbiology Laboratory Director General Steven Guercio said the team is very excited to start this phase of testing in efforts to exterminate the virus.
“The scientists working on the Ebola vaccine at the National Microbiology Laboratory have seen positive results in the development of the Ebola vaccine to date,” said Guercio in a news release.
The first test phase of the vaccination will continue until December and, if effective, will begin testing on Ebola patients in West Africa.
Health Canada said there has been no confirmed sign of Ebola in Canada yet, and the risk is very low.
At least 4,000 have died of the Ebola virus around the world and is only continuing to spread, according to the World Health Organization.
To donate to the Red Cross West Africa Ebola Fund, click here.
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