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MEP calls for EU funding to boost Oxford Ebola vaccine trial

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder has called on the EU to secure future funding for an international Ebola vaccine trial being led by the Jenner Institute at Oxford University.

key_normanlamb.pngDuring the trial, which was launched last week, the vaccine will be tested on 60 healthy volunteers at the Oxford Vaccine Centre at the Churchill Hospital. If successful, the vaccine will then be distributed to high-risk communities in African countries currently suffering from the deadly outbreak.

At a hearing today in the European Parliament, Oxford MEP Mrs Bearder called on EU Health Commissioner Borg to provide more EU investment into developing and manufacturing the vaccine in order to provide a more long-term response to the deadly disease.

The Jenner Institute has received significant funding from the EU in the past, which has helped it to build expertise in developing vaccines for malaria and to create international networks in Africa.

Commenting, Mrs Bearder said:

"Oxford University is a world leader when it comes to medical science and is now at the forefront of efforts to tackle this devastating global epidemic, thanks in part to EU research funding.

"This shows the value of protecting funding for long-term research because you never know what is round the corner.

"Unlocking additional EU cash could give this life-saving study an important extra boost, as well as potentially funding many more vaccines if the trial is successful."

Professor Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute commented:

"It is clear that we are seeing more frequent and more severe outbreaks of diseases like Ebola, Marburg disease and MERS for which there are no vaccines. 

"So it is crucial that we invest in developing vaccines for these "outbreak diseases" and build up stockpiles so we are prepared for future outbreaks."

Oxford West and Abingdon Parliamentary candidate, Layla Moran, added:

"The number of people dying from this awful disease is increasing every day.

"Oxford has the chance to lead the way in providing research to create a vaccine against Ebola and I am delighted funding has been secured to begin trials at the Jenner Institute.

"Funding from all sources is vital in ensuring research projects such as this can go ahead and I will be working with Catherine to raise the issue up the agenda."

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