The plan in Liberia is to test the two most advanced experimental vaccines in a three-armed trial involving 2,700 people. One third will receive a vaccine being made by GSK (formerly GlaxoSmithKline), one third will receive a vaccine being made by NewLink Genetics and Merck and the remaining portion will receive a placebo.
The NewLink-Merck vaccine was designed by researchers at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
The idea behind the trial is to give the vaccine to healthy people, and then watch to see how many in each arm develops Ebola. If many people in the placebo group become infected and none or few in the vaccine groups do, it would become clear that the vaccines were protective.