Canadian Ebola vaccine starts human tests

An experimental Ebola vaccine is set to begin its first phase of clinical trials in Canada.

An experimental Ebola vaccine developed in Canada will be tested on humans, in hopes of eventually rolling it out to fight the outbreak in West Africa, Health Minister Rona Ambrose says.

In a first phase of clinical trials, the vaccine will be administered to twenty volunteers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in the United States, to test dosage, effectiveness and any side effects.

Initial results from the vaccine, VSV-EBOV, developed by researchers at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, will be available in December, Ambrose told a news conference in Calgary on Monday.

Ambrose said she hoped "advancing research on this experimental vaccine will be able to help address this global crisis."

In August, Canada gave nearly 1000 doses of the vaccine to the World Health Organization, but they remain in Winnipeg and the WHO has not decided whether or not to use them.

Ambrose said the clinical trials "are an important step in addressing some of the ethical considerations around providing an experimental vaccine to assist in controlling the outbreak".

So far, the Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 4000 lives this year out of more than 7300 infected, mainly in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.