The first British volunteer of a new Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline has been injected in a fast-tracked safety trial.
The vaccine is designed specifically to target the Zaire strain of Ebola which has killed over 2,500 people in West Africa.
Since the shot contains no infectious Ebola virus material, only one of its genes, there is no risk of anyone contracting the disease.
Professor Adrian Hill, director of Jenner Institute at Oxford University said the aim was to complete the tests by the end of this year:
“We’ve done over 100 vaccine trials in this centre in Oxford and typically if we got started in six months we’d do very well. This time that’s all happened in four weeks. So this is as fast as anybody has ever seen a trial commence, particularly a trial of a vaccine that’s never been given to a human being before.”
West African nations are struggling to control the epidemic and the World bank has warned it could ruin their weak economies.
However the first promised plane load of US hospital equipment is due to arrive Friday and the IMF is planning additional funds of $127m (98.8m euros)
Meanwhile a French volunteer in Liberia who has contracted the virus is being evacuated to a specialised centre in France.