Originally published November 7 2014
Pentagon funding vaccine to combat airborne Ebola
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The Defense Department has awarded a pharmaceutical company a multi-million-dollar contract to develop a new Ebola vaccine aimed at combating an airborne version of the Ebola virus.
According to a press release from the company, Profectus BioSciences, Inc., a "clinical-stage vaccine" firm "developing novel vaccines for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases," the Pentagon is looking to acquire a new weapon in its arsenal against potential bioweapons, through its Medical Countermeasure Systems-Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program, a division of the DoD's Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense in Edgewood, Maryland.
The $9.5 million award will cover "the manufacture and IND-enabling preclinical testing of the Profectus trivalent Ebola/Marburg vaccine," the press release stated. Also, the Pentagon's contract covers clinical trials for the VesiculoVaxTM Zaire-Ebola virus vaccine to address the current outbreak of the virus in West Africa.
The press release continued:
The ... award has been made with Battelle Memorial Institute through the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, & Nuclear Defense Information Analysis Center (CBRNIAC) contract, a Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) owned, Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract vehicle for providing comprehensive scientific and technical research and analysis supporting the Department of Defense CBRN and Homeland Defense communities. Battelle has contracted with Profectus for manufacturing and clinical evaluation and with Charles River Laboratories and Biologics Consulting Group for preclinical testing and IND preparation, respectively.
"While the urgent need today is for a vaccine that protects against the current Ebola Zaire outbreak, we are also anticipating the needs for tomorrow," said Army Lt. Col. Victor Suarez, the MCS-JVAP Joint Product Manager. "We are continuing to develop a trivalent vaccine that will protect our service members and DoD civilians against the major filovirus threats: Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, and Marburg viruses."
Continuing, Suarez said, "The available evidence suggests that a trivalent vaccine, such as the one under development by Profectus, is the desired end point as it would simultaneously offer protection against the current Ebola Zaire outbreak and also meet the long-term goals of preventing future infections by the Ebola Sudan and Marburg viruses.
"The DoD is optimistic that its long-term commitment to identifying and supporting safe and effective trivalent filovirus vaccines is coming to fruition and remains supportive to advancing the Profectus BioSciences trivalent Ebola/Marburg vaccine into human clinical trials as rapidly as possible," he added.
According to DCMilitary.com, Suarez was appointed to his post in August .
John Eldridge, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Profectus, said his company has been working on this type of vaccine for more than a decade.
"More than 15 years have been invested in developing the genetically attenuated rVSVN4CT1 VesiculoVaxTM vaccine delivery platform and demonstrating its safety in multiple clinical trials," he said. "To date, it is the only vaccine to demonstrate single-dose protection of monkeys against lethal challenge with highly virulent low-passage Ebola and Marburg viruses."
As long as the U.S. military will be expected to help other nations combat the Ebola virus, the Pentagon will have an interest in protecting its personnel. Also, development of a countermeasure to combat any airborne strains of the virus, which could be utilized by an non-state actor like a terrorist organization as a bioweapon, will remain a priority.
That said, Britain's Daily Mail reported recently that many U.S. troops ordered to West Africa to build treatment clinics were being sent without proper protective gear:
Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Ebola hotspots in West Africa to battle the deadly disease will not receive full protective Hazmat suits for their mission.
Instead, the troops will be given only masks and gloves to protect them from the potentially fatal virus, General David Rodriguez said at a Pentagon briefing.
Learn all these details and more at the FREE online Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com
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