The news GSK’s Ebola vaccine is to be trialled on humans failed to lift the company on the stock market this morning, with its share price falling 0.21 per cent to 1,438 pence.
The experimental vaccine is to be tested on 60 healthy adults in Oxford, after it conferred resistance on a group of monkeys earlier this month.
It is being developed by GSK in conjunction with the US National Institutes of Health, and uses a single protein from the Ebola virus to set off an immune response. It is considered to be safe because it does not contain any infectious viral material, and so cannot cause a person who is vaccinated to become infected with Ebola.
Under normal circumstances, a vaccine would have to go through years of human trials before being approved for use, but the gravity of the current situation in West Africa has led to the vaccine being fast-tracked.
The epidemic currently making its way across West Africa began in Guinea in February. It has since killed over 2,000 people, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, and a number of companies are trying to develop treatments or preventative measures to keep it under control.
The hope is health workers in the affected countries could be immunised with the vaccine by the end of the year. It is estimated 10,000 doses will be available at that point.
Share price fall
The fact the news did little to buoy share price is not surprising – the stock market has already shown immunity to advancements of GSK’s vaccine; on 8 September, the company’s share price went down by 1.14 per cent despite the release of positive results from the trial on monkeys.
Overall, however, the development of the vaccine has had a positive impact on the pharmaceutical company’s shares since details were first announced at the beginning of August. After plans for the first clinical trials were revealed on 11 August, shares stayed the same or increased on the three following days.
Similarly, shares went up from 1,463 pence to 1,474.5 pence following news on 28 August that the vaccine was being fast tracked for human trials in the UK.