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Ebola vaccine trial suspended after joint pains


UNITED NATIONS – In Geneva, clinical trials of a promising Ebola vaccine developed by the Canadian government have been halted after four patients complained of joint pains.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell declared, under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, immunity against prosecution for the manufacture and testing of three promising Ebola vaccines being developed by U.S. firms.

Officials at the University Hospital of Geneva decided to suspend the experimental testing of the Ebola vaccine donated by the National Laboratory of Microbiology in Winnipeg after symptoms of joint pain were reported by patients 10 to 15 days after receiving an injection of the experimental Canadian vaccine.

“We want to suspend the clinical trial for a few weeks because we were not expecting to observe the reaction,” Dr. Angela Huttner, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at the University Hospital of Geneva, told the Canadian Press. “Other teams testing the same vaccine have not experienced similar side-effects.”

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Huttner stressed that the side effects reported were minor, and the patients reporting the joint pain were able to continue their normal activities without difficulty.

Researchers at the University Hospital in Geneva plan to resume testing the experimental Canadian virus Jan. 5.

They will take advantage of the interruption in testing to assess the frequency of the joint pain and the intensity of the side effects with a larger number of patients who have been injected with the experimental Canadian vaccine.

As WND reported Thursday, while focus on the Ebola outbreak has faded in the U.S. and the death toll in Guinea and Liberia has eased, the virus is still “running ahead” of efforts to contain it in West Africa, according to Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization.