By Garmonyou Wilson
The United States-Liberia led Partnership for Research on the Ebola Vaccine in Liberia (PREVAIL) says it is targeting 600 people to participate in the clinical trial of two potential vaccines for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Speaking to journalists yesterday, the Co-Principal Investigator for PREVAIL, Dr. Stephen Kennedy said that 60 Liberians have already participated in the trial and in the coming weeks that number is to grow until the target is met.
He added that Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal would also form part of phase two in the coming months to make up the 600 participants.
Dr. Kennedy, a Liberian doctor who is leading the vaccination trial process in Liberia says that Liberian doctors are heading the process as the global community’s eyes are on the country, because this is the most vigorous study probably in history.
The study started in August of 2014 and is now in stage two of the process which could be concluded in a year upon its second phase that is the clinical trial of vaccines named Chad3-EBO-Z and rVSV-ZEBOV.
Dr. Kennedy said that trials of the vaccine was conducted in the United States, Europe and Mali before coming to Liberia to undergo stage two; he added that stage three when ready would incorporate more participants in the trial process and that would take 10-15 years before the entire process is completed.
Dr. Kennedy admitted that PREVAIL erred in the start of the process by not incorporating all stakeholders throughout Liberia which should have included market women, the press, civil society organizations, lawmakers, FLY, among others and accepted that organization’s major challenge is with social mobilization.
Dr. Kennedy who is the co-principal investigator for PREVAIL said events in the media including the online edition of an article published in one of the local dailies on Wednesday prompted the impromptu press conference in which it reported that the vaccine trial had been halted. He said the information was false and misleading.
According to Dr. Kennedy who admitted to have taken the vaccine himself, the therapeutic drug should have been used for the trial but was pulled out of the process on recommendations made by the U.S. based organization named Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and said the trial is ongoing and all stakeholders are impressed with the turnout of Liberians during the process.