China approves experimental Ebola vaccine for clinical trials

This picture taken on Nov 3, 2014 shows medical staff from a 30-person foreign aid dispatch that would be sent to Ethiopia by No.302 hospital of PLA, taking a high-temperature training session in their hospital in Beijing, before going to the epidemi
This picture taken on Nov 3, 2014 shows medical staff from a 30-person foreign aid dispatch that would be sent to Ethiopia by No.302 hospital of PLA, taking a high-temperature training session in their hospital in Beijing, before going to the epidemic zone in Africa to tackle Ebola. China has approved a domestically developed experimental Ebola vaccine for clinical trials, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing the People's Liberation Army logistics unit. -- PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has approved a domestically developed experimental Ebola vaccine for clinical trials, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing the People's Liberation Army logistics unit.

Scientists around the world are racing to develop Ebola vaccines after the world's worst outbreak of the virus, which has killed more than 6,000 people in West Africa this year.

The Chinese vaccine is being developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Xinhua said, a military research unit which is also involved in developing a drug to treat the disease.

"This follows American and Canadian vaccines to become the third Ebola vaccine to enter clinical trials," the official Chinese state news agency said.

The news agency did not say when the trials would start, but other media said it would be this month.

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC is one of the front runners in developing an Ebola vaccine along with a vaccine being developed by Merck and NewLink. Both are in clinical trials, while other experimental vaccines are expected to start clinical trials next year.

A big trial in Liberia, involving up to 30,000 participants, will test single shots of GSK's vaccine, the rival one from NewLink and Merck, and a placebo.

Chinese biotechnology firm Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology Inc is also involved in developing the vaccine, Xinhua said.