November 3, 2014 / 11:50 PM / 6 years ago

Canada commits funding for Ebola vaccine research, stockpile

Scientists at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba, prepare an experimental Ebola vaccine for shipment to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva in this undated handout picture released October 18, 2014. REUTERS/Public Health Agency of Canada/Handout

(Reuters) - Canada announced new funding on Monday for clinical trials into an Ebola vaccine, and to create a stockpile of the vaccine and experimental treatments for use in the event the deadly disease reaches the country.

Speaking at the laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where scientists developed an experimental Ebola treatment, ZMAb, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said Ottawa was committing C$23.5 million ($20.7 million) for research and development of Ebola vaccines and treatments.

“These funds announced today will help support Ebola vaccine clinical trials and to create a stockpile of the vaccine and monochlonal antibody treatments of Ebola for use in Canada in the event of a case of Ebola, and to assist in the outbreak response in West Africa,” Ambrose said.

No cases of Ebola have been reported in Canada, but Ottawa announced on Friday it will stop issuing visas to people from the three West African nations where Ebola is widespread.

ZMAb is a precursor to ZMapp, which Canada licensed to California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. ZMapp was used this summer to treat two American aid workers, who recovered.

Canada supplied small amounts of ZMAb to Spain and Norway to treat infected healthcare workers, the Public Health Agency of Canada said earlier this month. The treatment is laboratory grade, meaning it was made for use on animals.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Gregory Taylor said the knowledge that would come from further clinical trials would benefit Canadians, but could also help fight the outbreak in West Africa.

Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver. Editing by Andre Grenon

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