Hawaii researchers work to develop Ebola vaccine

Dr. Axel Lehrer

The University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine is teaming up with Hawaii Biotech to create what’s hoped to be a medical breakthrough, an Ebola vaccine.

There are currently no vaccines licensed for use against Ebola and candidates currently in clinical development have yet to be approved.

Dr. Axel Lehrer, with JABSOM’s Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, says he has been working on a solution for years.

The Filovirus vaccine has already been tested on animals with successful results. Lehrer says the next step is to move the project to a human clinical phase.

“I wish this could have been avoided, the outbreak (that killed thousands last year), so I certainly hope that in the future, by bringing a safe and effective vaccine, we will be able to avoid something like that in the future,” he said.

Lehrer says the next step in the project is to move the vaccine to a secure laboratory for testing on the mainland.

While the initial vaccine is designed to protect against the Ebola virus alone, research is also underway to develop a vaccine that can also protect against two other closely related filoviruses, the Sudan virus and the Marburg virus.

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