Scientists are to fast-track tests on a third possible Ebola vaccine, as the world’s worst outbreak of the deadly virus accelerates research efforts.
Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson says its clinical trials have been brought forward to early next year.
The race to develop new drugs has been spurred by a World Health Organisation ruling that it is ethical to use experimental products, given this epidemic’s high death toll.
“This Ebola epidemic is the largest and most severe and most complex we have ever seen in the nearly 40 year history of this disease,” Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), told reporters at a Washington news conference.
“No-one, even outbreak responders with experience dating back to 1976, to 1995, people that were directly involved with those outbreaks, none of them have ever seen anything like it.”
Ebola has claimed more than 1,900 lives in West Africa since March.
The WHO has invited experts to Geneva on Thursday to discuss experimental treatments and vaccines and how testing can be fast-tracked to help those in need.