Nearly 300 vaccines under development in the US – including Ebola

Ebola Outbreak

FILE – This Aug. 12, 2014 file photo shows a healthcare worker walking near a Ebola isolation unit wearing protective gear against the virus at Kenema Government Hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff, File)

Biopharmaceutical companies in the United States are working on the development of at least 271 vaccines for infectious diseases, cancer, neurological disorders, allergies, and viruses. This week, federal researchers will begin testing humans with an experimental vaccine to prevent the deadly Ebola virus.

The National Institutes of Health announced it is launching the safety trial on a vaccine developed by the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and GlaxoSmithKline. It will test 20 healthy adult volunteers to see if the virus is safe and triggers an adequate response in their immune systems.

According to the WHO, the number of cases in the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa is more than 3,000 and accounts for 1,546 deaths. The countries affected are Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. A separate, unrelated outbreak is ongoing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Liberia, a missionary organization announced that another American doctor has become infected.


Note: Some vaccines are listed in more than one category

Vaccines must go through three phases of testing before they can be approved for use by the general public.

Some projects in development:

  • A therapeutic vaccines for HIV infection intended to delay disease progression
  • A monoclonal antibody vaccine that targets both pandemic and seasonal influenza
  • A genetically-modified vaccine designed for the treatment of pancreatic cancer
  • An irradiated vaccine for protection against malaria

The development of vaccines is often costly and complex with average development timelines of eight to almost 19 years and an estimated cost of development of $200 million to $900 million.

Report compiled with information from The Associated Press