Updated
September 27th, 2019

Sabin Institute To Develop GSK's Ebola and Marburg Virus Vaccines

GSK ChAd3-based vaccines against Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, and Marburg viruses demonstrated a strong safety profile and encouraging immunogenicity

researchers in a lab working to produce vaccines

The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) announced it has acquired exclusive agreements with GSK to advance the development of the prophylactic vaccines against the Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan and the Marburg virus.

This news is important as there are no commercially licensed vaccines against these 3 lethal viruses currently available. 

These viruses cause hemorrhagic fever with subsequent death in an average of 50 percent of cases.

The 3 vaccine candidates were initially developed collaboratively by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Okairos, which was acquired by GSK in 2013. The candidate vaccines, based on GSK’s proprietary ChAd3 platform, were further developed by GSK, including the Phase II development for the Ebola Zaire vaccine.

The ChAd3-based vaccines against Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, and Marburg viruses have demonstrated a strong safety profile and encouraging immunogenicity results after being administered to more than 5,000 adults and 600 children, in 13 different clinical trials to date.

Sabin Chief Executive Officer Amy Finan commented in a press release, “Thanks to GSK’s longstanding engagement in global health, as well as its scientific expertise, the ChAd3 vaccine program is well-positioned to be an effective weapon in the global community’s arsenal against Ebola.”

“Sabin plans to continue the development and seek regulatory approval of Ebola and Marburg vaccines with our shared goal of making them available to the millions of people potentially at risk.”

To further develop the ChAd3 Ebola and Marburg vaccines, Sabin has entered into a Research Collaboration Agreement with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, and Marburg are members of the Filoviridae virus family and are commonly referred to as filoviruses. All can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans. No therapeutic treatment for the hemorrhagic fevers caused by filoviruses has been licensed to date.

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The ongoing 2018-2019 outbreak in central Africa is also caused by Ebola Zaire and has claimed the lives of more than 1,600 people. On July 17, 2019, the WHO declared it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Marburg and Ebola viruses are transmitted to humans by infected animals, particularly fruit bats. Once a human is infected, the virus can spread to others through close personal contact or contact with bodily fluids.

Isolation of infected people is currently the centerpiece of filovirus control.

Marburg was the first filovirus to be recognized in 1967 when a number of laboratory workers, including some in Marburg, Germany, developed hemorrhagic fever. 

The Ebola virus was identified in 1976 when two simultaneous outbreaks occurred in northern Zaire in a village near the Ebola River and southern Sudan.

In central Africa, the 2 leading Ebola vaccines currently deployed:

The Sabin Vaccine Institute, a non-profit organization founded in 1993, is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, advancing vaccine research and development, and amplifying vaccine knowledge and innovation. Sabin received more than $110 million for vaccine R&D programs from public and philanthropic funding sources, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund and the Michelson Medical Research Foundation.

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. GSK is the world’s leading vaccine company, with a portfolio that helps protect people throughout life and an innovative pipeline of 16 vaccines in development.