MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A Connecticut company that specializes in vaccine development is working on a vaccine for Ebola, and the work that’s been done so far could be life-saving.
“We are producing the protective antigen as we speak,” Dr. Manon Cox of Protein Sciences told News 8. Protein Sciences is no stranger to producing vaccines. They already have one for the flu. Now they’re developing a vaccine for Ebola.
“The way this disease is evolving at this moment and time I think it’s important enough to be prepared,” said Dr. Cox said.
“It’s very important that we get something out there pretty quickly,” Exec. Chairman Dan Abrams said.
The company says it was contacted in June by the government to begin working on the vaccine. Testing is expected by the end of the year. As you can imagine there’s a great deal of science behind it all, but how it works is simple.
“It trains your immune system to stop the virus if it tries to infect your body,” Abrams said.
This vaccine wouldn’t be given to people who already have Ebola, but rather be used as a preventive measure, especially to those working on the front lines of it all such as the doctor and nurses.
More than 3,000 people in Africa have died from the virus. Earlier this week the first Ebola case was confirmed in the U.S. The patient is a man from Liberia who was visiting family in Dallas.
FDA approval on the Protein Sciences vaccine could take years, but the goal is to get it out much faster than that.
“It very much depends on what the emergency situation is and what the alternative is,” Dr. Cox said. “I believe if I was to be deployed to Africa I would rather take something than nothing.”
Researchers at Protein Sciences say they’re able to work on this vaccine so quickly and efficiently because they aren’t handling a live virus, which is a time consuming process. Even if final FDA approval does take years, they’re able to issue what’s called an “emergency use authorization” which will allow people to take the vaccine.