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EU set to rapidly mobilise funds from Horizon 2020 to support clinical trials

The European Commission has announced that it intends to rapidly mobilise funds from the Horizon 2020 research fund to help fund clinical trials searching for an Ebola vaccine such as the one taking place at the Jenner Institute, Oxford University.

key_horizon2020.pngThe Commission is working with the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines agency in order to define the most useful research to spend the funds on.

The announcement comes after Catherine Bearder MEP called for extra funding to build on research to find a vaccination and build up stockpiles.

Speaking in a debate at the European Parliament with EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva, Mrs Bearder said it was important to provide funding to build up stockpiles of the vaccine if the trial is successful.

To date there have been more than 8,400 reported cases and over 4,000 deaths worldwide, there have been 10 reported cases within the EU.

Mrs Bearder commented:

"I am pleased the Commission is working with other health bodies to ensure a coordinated rapid response is delivered.

"It has long been clear to me that we need to first contain the outbreak in the short term but we also need to plan for the future and vital research, such as that taking place at the Jenner Institute, is crucial to ensure we limit the number of casualties moving forwards.

"Funding and speed are of the essence now and I urge the Commission to act as swiftly as possible."

Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute, commented:

"We are making good progress in the current trial of a new Ebola vaccine at Oxford. We aim to have initial safety and immune response data by next month and this will be critical in assessing whether this vaccine can progress further. Already a further trial has started in Mali, based on the initial UK safety data.

"European Commission funding could make a substantial contribution to accelerating the deployment of this vaccine to save lives in West Africa. So, I very much welcome this announcement."

If the trial is successful, tens of thousands of doses of the vaccine which are currently being manufactured will be needed to immunise high-risk communities in West Africa.

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