Dispatches from AAPS 2014

BARDA: Ebola is “a bioterrorism threat”

Protective equipment for health workers in Guinea. (Picture: EC/ECHO/Jean-Louis Mosser)

BARDA, the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, has revealed it sees Ebola “as a bioterrorism threat.

Director Robin Robinson, also Assistant Secretary, Preparedness Response, at the Department of Health and Human Services, told AAPS (the meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists) in San Diego this week “the Department of Homeland Security has done studies to show it has the [potential] to be a bioterrorism weapon.

While detailed projections are classified, Robinson told this reporter “we’ll know more next year.

The good news, he said, is that the mutation rate for this virus “is not what you see with some of the more promiscuous viruses like HIV.

Also helpful in the fight against potential bioterrorism is the fact that vaccine and drug candidates for the Ebola strain seen in the current epidemic are showing “very good protection so far,” although authorities are remaining “supervigilant,” he said.

The UN has established its first ever mission for a public health emergency, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), to address the outbreak. UNMEER aims to stop the spread of the disease, treat patients, and ensure essential services and stability. 

The 90-day plan, implemented in West Africa, is trying to isolate 70% of Ebola cases, and provide safe burials for 70% of patients who die from the virus, by December 1, 2014, rising to 100% by January.

Fighting Ebola: BARDA Director Robin Robinson lists the most promising current Ebola therapies

Vaccine candidates:

  • cAd3 EBOV vaccine (GSK), supported by NIH and BARDA
  • rVSVΔG EBOV vaccine (Newlink Genetics), supported by NIH, DoD, and BARDA
  • AdVac/MVA EBOV vaccine (J&J/BN), supported by NIH
  • rVSVN4CT1 EBOV vaccine (Profectus) supported by NIH, DoD, and BARDA

The College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin revealed another potential vaccine during AAPS – a nasal spray which has had success in non-human primates. A preclinical study immunizing 1,000 primates raised their survival from 67% to 100% at 150 days after innoculation.

Drug candidates:

  • ZMapp (Mapp), mAb therapy supported by DoD and BARDA
  • TKM100802 (Tekmira), siRNA supported by Dod
  • BCX4430 (BioCryst), adenosine nucleoside analogue supported by NIH
  • Brincidofovir/CMX001 (Chemirix), DNA polymerase inhibitor supported by ?BARDA
  • Favipiravir/T705 (Fujifulm/Medivector), RNA polymerase inhibitor supported b y Dod
  • AV1-6002 (Sarepota), PMO RNA supported by DoD

Related News

An Ebola response worker in Sierra Leone. (Picture: European Commission DG ECHO)

US politicians plan fast-track vouchers to reward Ebola R&D

A 39-year-old woman receives a dose of the GSK Ebola vaccine candidate at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. (Image: NIAID)

Phase I success for GSK Ebola vaccine in sped-up trial

Ebola screening at Conakry Airport. The WHO has recommended exit screening at airports and land-border crossings in countries affected by Ebola

Tracking Ebola difficult in countries where war has stunted healthcare development

J&J to receive almost €50m in grants to help manufacture Ebola vaccine

J&J to receive almost €50m in grants to help manufacture Ebola vaccines

Ebola health workers photographed in Guinea last year. (Image: European Commission DG ECHO)

Merck-NewLink Ebola vaccine trial starts in Guinea

The UK army shows doctors and nurses how to put on personal protective equipment at a British-built Ebola centre in Sierra Leone last November. (Image: Simon Davis/DFID)

Tekmira Ebola RNA drug starts Phase II

Ebola survivors welcome the UN Secretary-General at an Ebola treatment unit in Hastings, Sierra Leone last December. (Image: Martine Perret/UN)

Ebola doctor who received vaccine after needle accident is virus-free

Booster shots? US military recruits to continue to receive adenovirus vaccine following reintroduction in 2011

US military strikes deal to secure adenovirus shots from Teva

Which came first the duck cell of the egg? The latter but the former makes for better Ebola vaccines says ProBioGen

Duck cells for Ebola vaccine production: ProBioGen highlights Emergent's use of tech for MVA EBOZ

Cameron: data from all UK-funded Ebola studies to be published

Data from all UK-funded vaccine trials to be published says PM

Marie-Paule Kieney, leading the WHO's Ebola R&D, called the trial 'record-breaking'. (Image: Fundação Oswaldo Cruz)

WHO: Merck & Co Phase III success a ‘turning point’ for Ebola vaccine

Some drugs to treat bioterrorism injuries may not ethically be tested on humans

SNBL animal models win anti-terror attack contract

Soldiers in the field could use powder packs to manufacture large molecule medicines

‘Beyond revolutionary’: bioreactor-in-a-briefcase brings warzone production

Texas biomanufacturing centre aims to up US medical countermeasures

NewLink's Ebola vaccine candidate arrives in Geneva for tests. (Picture: WHO)

Ebola update: WHO works with vaccine makers on production bottlenecks

GSK is preparing 10,000 doses as a Phase I trial begins.

GSK begins manufacturing 10,000 Ebola vaccine doses for WHO

Kentucky Bioprocessing says it can produce the plant-based antibodies quickly

Kentucky firm ramps production of plant-based antibodies used to treat two Ebola patients

Related Products

See more related products