A leading Oxford University scientist has called on the residents of Oxfordshire to help him challenge the deadly virus Ebola.
Professor Adrian Hill is leading clinical trials at Oxford’s Jenner Institute from next month, with the hope of producing a vaccine for the deadly virus. Ebola has killed around 1,500 victims in West Africa this summer, with at least one British national infected.
Commenting on the upcoming trials, Hill told the Oxford Mail that the “tragic events” in West Africa demand an “urgent response”.
“We, and all our partners on this project, are optimistic that this candidate vaccine may prove useful against Ebola,” Hill said.
Hill is requesting 60 Oxford-based volunteers, each of whom may receive up to £400 in expenses. Hill also assured potential volunteers that participation in the trial posed no risk from Ebola infection. “The vaccine takes a gene from Ebola and puts it in a virus carrier. The carrier happens to be a safe version of the common cold virus.”
Hill stressed the urgency of the clinical trial, stating: “Vaccines can take a decade to develop, but we want to develop something within about six months.”
Ebola is most commonly spread between humans by direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. The World Health Organisation has predicted that the number of West African cases could rise to 20,000.
The trials will be funded by a £2.8 million grant from the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the UK Department for International Development, with trials possibly beginning as early as mid-September.
Potential volunteers are invited to show their interest by emailing [email protected]