Mérieux Foundation event

Ebola vaccine: where are we? How to move forward?

January 12 - 13, 2015 - Les Pensieres Center for Global Health, Veyrier-du-Lac (France)


In the face of an unprecedented Ebola outbreak with over 20,000 cases and 8,000 deaths, Fondation Mérieux co-organized this meeting with WHO and Aviesan (French National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health) to confront the challenges faced by Ebola vaccine researchers with those faced by international, governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the field.

No experimental vaccine has ever been on a faster track to clinical evaluation. The exceptional circumstances pose unique challenges. The scientific community must form new partnerships and coordinate its actions to accelerate research and avoid duplication of efforts. The public health community must weigh ethical issues and the principal of precaution against the imperative to get an Ebola vaccine out to the healthcare workers and populations on the front lines as quickly as possible. Beyond funding for research, vaccine manufacturers are confronted with the issue of scaling up production to be ready to rapidly meet demand should their vaccine candidate succeed in clinical trials. Who should support these risks?

The meeting reviewed the status of Ebola vaccine research, including the latest safety and immunogenicity data on the two candidate vaccines in phase I and II clinical trials. As phase III efficacy trials are about to commence, participants identified the challenges faced by vaccine researchers. They looked in particular at the issue of study design, comparing the approach taken in the three countries that are currently affected. In the face of an unprecedented epidemic, vaccine development must be compressed from a typical 5 – 7 years to just 12 – 18 months.

“What if we can’t demonstrate efficacy?” was an important concern voiced by researchers. It was unanimously agreed that it is essential to collect enough clinical data on the vaccine’s efficacy and safety before the epidemic subsides. Participants felt that, due to the urgency and short timeframe, phase II and III clinical trials should be conducted in parallel rather than sequentially. They also commended the regulatory authorities for adapting their approach to the crisis and enabling researchers to advance more quickly with preliminary data based on a risk-benefit assessment.

The group looked at the sociocultural and ethical challenges inherent in vaccine research. Médecins Sans Frontières shared the lessons learned from past Ebola outbreaks and their impact on their current response. Involving the community in outbreak control is a key success factor.

Participating experts agreed that, while the vaccine will not be the “magic bullet” that will resolve the current epidemic, it will be an indispensable tool to limit the spread of future outbreaks.


Monday 12 January

Tuesday 13 January

SESSION I Ebola vaccine research agenda: A status

Cathy ROTH & Claire-Anne SIEGRIST

  • 16:00-16:20

    Preclinical studies: an overview

    Nancy SULLIVAN

    Download presentation
  • 16:40-17:00

    Vaccine candidates and their selection for phase 2/3 trials based on phase I immunological data

    Sarah GILBERT

    Download presentation
  • 17:00-17:20

    Phase II and III trials- how to launch parallel or sequential pathways for experimental use of Ebola candidate vaccines in these phases?

    Ana Maria HENAO

    Download presentation

SESSION II Challenges in Ebola vaccine research


  • 8:00-8:20

    Challenges inherent to the research design: What to learn from deep immunological monitoring in phase I/II vaccine trials?

    Rodolphe THIEBAUT

    Download presentation
  • 8:20-8:40

    Challenges related to ethical and regulatory pathways in emergency situations

    David WOOD

    Download presentation
  • 9:50-10:00

    GLOPID: Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness

    Bernadette MURGUE

    Download presentation

SESSION III Cultural and programmatic challenges in the implementation of Ebola vaccine programs


  • 13:50-14:10

    The evaluation of business models needed for an innovative Ebola vaccine financing system

    Robert NEWMAN

    Download presentation
  • 14:10-14:30

    Benefit-risk considerations for new Ebola vaccines used in emergency situation

    Anton CAMACHO

    Download presentation
  • 14:30-14:50

    MSF perspective: next steps in the development and access for potential new vaccines for Ebola


    Download presentation
  • 14:50 -15:10

    Socio-cultural and anthropological aspects to account for in vaccine adoption and introduction

    Janice GRAHAM

    Download presentation
Download the program


Cindy GRASSO - Conference Coordinator

Send an e-mail