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Clinical Trials Prove Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola Vaccine Safe and Effective

April 1, 2015 Ottawa, ON Public Health Agency of Canada

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, today welcomed the news of promising trial outcomes of Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine.  The results of several studies and trials bring the world closer to ending this global outbreak through the provision of a commercially available vaccine.

Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine proved to be safe and effective in a Phase 1 clinical trial, according to findings published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. These studies were performed at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to explore the experimental vaccine’s safety and what immune response it evokes  when administered at different dosages.

Other Phase 1 studies have been conducted at a variety of sites worldwide, including Halifax, Nova Scotia where Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine was tested by the Canadian Immunization Research Network on volunteers. The results of this trial were essential in determining an appropriate and safe dosage.
Scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory developed Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine used in these studies. The Canadian government owns the intellectual property associated with this vaccine. It has been licensed to NewLink Genetics, and on November 24, 2014, NewLink Genetics and Merck announced their collaboration on the vaccine.

Quick Facts

  • Canada is a leader in fighting Ebola and continues to contribute to the outbreak response in West Africa. The Government of Canada has committed more than $110 million to support health, humanitarian, and security interventions to address the spread of the disease and for further research and development of Ebola medical countermeasures.
  • Eleven clinical trials have been conducted, are currently ongoing, or are planned world-wide using Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine. Eight of these have been Phase 1 trials and three are Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials.
  • Vials of VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine, which Canada donated to the WHO in 2014, have been used in four clinical trials conducted in Gabon, Kenya, Germany, and Switzerland.
  • Interim results from Phase 2 clinical trials in Liberia, sponsored by the United States’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, found that Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine has proven to be safe. The trials are continuing and will advance to a Phase 3 study.
  • Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine is also being tested as part of the WHO-sponsored Phase 3 clinical trial in Guinea.  This trial focuses on ring vaccination – a program of vaccinating contacts and potential contacts in the immediate community around the infected individual.
  • There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada. The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, not through casual contact. 


“Canada is pleased that clinical studies have demonstrated the safety of Canada’s VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine. We are proud of the work done by Public Health Agency of Canada scientists that led to the development of the vaccine and hope that it can be used as a global resource to help save lives and end the outbreak in West Africa.”
Honourable Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health

“It is so encouraging to see that Canada’s VSV-EBOV vaccine is proven to be safe and is now entering Phase 3 trials to see if it works. Having a regulated, safe and effective vaccine will be an important tool as we move forward in our response to this and future Ebola outbreaks.”
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

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Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983