Merck & Co and NewLink Genetics have confirmed that the third, late-stage, clinical trial of their Ebola vaccine candidate rVSV-ZEBOV-GP (V920) has begun in Sierra Leone. 

The Phase II/III safety and effectiveness STRIVE trial will involve 6,000 health and other frontline workers, and is being led by the Sierra Leone College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The experimental vaccine was originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory and licensed to NewLink in 2010, which subsequently brought Merck on board in a licensing and collaboration deal last year.

Statistics show that the number of people who have died in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is around 9,000, though many believe the actual figure is a great deal higher.