LONDON: British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is submitting its entire development for three potential vaccines against the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses, despite the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Candidates for the vaccine – two designed for Ebola protection and one for the Marburg virus – will be transferred to the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington, D.C., according to a GSK release.
There is no financial element to the agreement, a spokesman said.
The deal will force Sabin to continue to develop candidate vaccines, one of which – a potential Ebola shot known as ChAd3 – has undergone mid-phase, phase II, trials in Africa and could possibly be used to stop or limit future Ebola outbreaks.
"Allowing Sabin to build on the scientific advances that GSK has made to Phase II increases the likelihood that these vaccine candidates will help prevent potential epidemics in the future," GSK Chief Medical Officer Vaccines in a statement.
GSK had stopped work on the Ebola vaccine after failing to pass the product in the last phase, or Phase III, clinical trials at the end of the 2014-16 epidemic due to the decreasing number of Ebola cases.
The ongoing Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last month was declared an international emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The disease has killed more than 1,800 people in the outbreak of the Congo, which began a year ago and became the second worst on record.
Breuer said the Sabine deal was an "important next step" in the fight against Ebola.
GSK said Sabin has reached a cooperation agreement with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Research Center for Vaccines to further develop vaccine applicants.
The ChAd3 shot was originally developed by NIAID in collaboration with the Swiss company Okairos, which was bought by GSK in 2013.
All three experimental vaccines have shown promise in safety tests after being administered to more than 5,000 adults and 600 children, GSK said.
(Reporting by Kate Keland; Editing by Jason Neely)