PharmSource Report: Clinical Developments in the Prevention and Treatment of Ebola Virus


By following drug products in clinical development and associated bio/pharmaceutical company fundings, new opportunities to play a supporting business role may be uncovered. Recent activity of this nature to prevent and treat the Ebola virus is one such example.

The 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the worst such outbreak since the 1976 discovery of this virus. As of November 7, 2014, CDC, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, reported a total of 13,268 cases and 4,950 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone; additional countries with limited transmission include Nigeria, Spain and the United States.

There are not yet any FDA-approved treatments for the Ebola virus. While significant progress has been achieved in understanding the disease, until recently there has been little investment in developing remedies. However, as Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), says on, “The need for a vaccine to protect against Ebola infection is urgent.”

NIAID has initiated blinded Phase I clinical trials with the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine candidate at three different dosage strengths, in two intramuscular injections, administered 28-days apart. The goal is to create immunity in healthy adults. Originally developed by scientists at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory, the investigational vaccine has been licensed to NewLink Genetics through its wholly owned subsidiary BioProtection Systems. Concurrently, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is testing a single-dose administration of VSV-ZEBOV. In addition, early human testing is underway by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline with another investigational Ebola vaccine. Initial data are expected by the end of 2014.

In addition to these efforts, some other bio/pharmaceutical companies have received funding to support the development of new antiviral treatments and vaccines to prevent/treat Ebola. The following charts summarize these products in development.

Ebola treatment and prevention candidates currently in clinical development:
Current Pipeline Overview

Source: PharmSource Lead Sheet, data from January 1, 2014 to mid-November 2014.


Candidate Summaries:

Quick Ebola Facts:

  • The virus was discovered near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly named Zaire).
  • The host of the virus has not yet been identified.
  • The virus likely is transmitted to humans from infected wild animals, then spreads through human-to-human direct contact via any of the following:
    • Blood or body fluids of an infected individual
    • Virus-contaminated objects
    • Virus-contaminated apes, monkeys or fruit bats
  • Four Ebola virus strains that cause disease in humans have been identified:
    • Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus)
    • Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus)
    • Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus)
    • Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
      A fifth strain, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has been found in nonhuman primates.
  • Symptoms typically occur between 2 and 21 days following exposure. Diagnosis during this initial time can be difficult, since early symptoms closely resemble other more common diseases, including malaria and typhoid fever.
  • There is an average fatality rate of about 50%, with rates in past outbreaks ranging from 25% to 90%.
  • Early treatment using rehydration and other medical management improves survival.

How PharmSource can help you stay informed:

The PharmSource Lead Sheet research team works hard to provide the most up-to-date information on potential treatments being developed for Ebola virus and other diseases and medical conditions. It provides a weekly report with new status updates for companies around the world that are involved in developing:

  • Drug candidates in clinical trials
  • Medical device and diagnostic candidates in clinical trials

The Lead Sheet also has a deep database, where clinical opportunities can be identified using granular product characteristics, including: development phase, therapeutic area, dosage form, API, and much more.

Need more information on the new development and current status of Ebola products?

Subscribers to the PharmSource Lead Sheet can login and use the Search functions to find specific, relevant product and financing opportunities. The Drug Edition as well as the Devices & Diagnostics Edition cover products in development for the Ebola virus.

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PharmSource Lead Sheet: Drug Edition

Judy Nanthavong is a Senior Research Analyst at PharmSource, and specializes in covering events related to medical devices and diagnostics. Prior to joining the company as a full-time, permanent staff member, she previously worked here as a student intern. Judy holds a BS degree in Health Science, Health Systems Management from George Mason University.

More posts by Judy Nanthavong