Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced doctors can start human clinical trials of an experimental Ebola vaccine, developed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

“The Canadian vaccine provides great hope and promise, because it is shown to be 100 per cent effective in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus when tested on animals,” Ambrose told reporters on Monday.

Scientists at the NML, with help from labs in the United States and China, tested the vaccine on 18 monkeys infected with Ebola. All of them survived.
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An image from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control shows an Ebola Virus.

Phase one of the trials will focus on determining the proper dosage and any possible side effects of the vaccine.

Twenty vials of the vaccine have been sent to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland for testing on about 40 healthy volunteers, she said.

The announcement comes after a health worker in Texas became the first person to be infected with Ebola inside the United States. The nurse contracted it from a patient, a Liberian man who developed symptoms shortly after arriving in U.S.

American health officials say a breach of infection protocol led to the nurse catching the disease.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has ordered additional supplies as part of their ongoing preparations for a possible Ebola diagnosis here.

When asked if the WRHA is concerned about the infection of Texas health worker, a spokesperson said the agency has sent directives on the response to all sites and programs.

“The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has been coordinating weekly conference calls with sites and programs regarding Ebola preparedness, and has been actively participating in provincial coordination and planning,” a WRHA spokesperson said in an email.

The health authority stresses that the overall risk in Canada is “extremely low,” however they have begun training hospital staff at the Health Sciences Centre to use personal protective equipment. HSC has been designated as the site to receive any suspected Ebola patients.

Medical staff have already started asking for travel history from anyone showing symptoms of Ebola.

– With reports by CTV’s Josh Elliot and The  Associated Press

Read more: http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca

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