A recent WABE â€œCloser Lookâ€ interview with Mark Mulligan, executive director of the Emory Vaccine Centerâ€™s Hope Clinic, covers a lot of ground. It starts off with a segment — also aired on Marketplace — from reporter Michell Eloy, who visited the Hope Clinicâ€™s lab. We hear a machine processing blood samples from a study testing an experimental Ebola vaccine and a roundup of Ebola vaccine developments.
We also hear from Carl Davis, postdoc in Rafi Ahmedâ€™s lab, who is part of the DARPA-funded team research project studying the utility of antibodies from Ebola survivors. [Other recent news on this topic from The Scientist.]
Then, reporters Rose Scott and Jim Burress discuss several different Ebola vaccines with Mulligan. One is based on chimpanzee adenovirus, was tested at the Hope Clinic and elsewhere in the USA and the UK, and then in Liberia. While this vaccine was safe and it appears to stimulate the immune system appropriately, the outbreak fizzled out (a good thing!) before it was possible to tell if the vaccine protected people from Ebola infection.
A second is based on VSV (vesicular stomatitis virus), and was the only one to demonstrate the ability to protect people from Ebola in Guinea. Mulligan was involved in testing this vaccine in a post-exposure setting. A third Ebola/MVA booster vaccine was also tested at the Hope Clinic. Yet another CMV (cytomegalovirus)-based vaccine, which has not been tested in humans, was described in a recent Scientific Reports paper, which Mulligan explains.
At the end of the interview, Mulligan mentions both that the Hope Clinic is gearing up for NIAID research on an anti-HIV antibody, and preliminary investigation of samples from people infected by Zika virus at the Vaccine Center.