Race for Vaccines, Treatments as West Africa Ebola Death Toll Tops 100
The death toll from the deadly Ebola virus outbreak has topped 100, including 101 dead in Guinea and 7 in Liberia. Now there are reports the virus has spread to neighboring Mali. The WHO has said the outbreak is expected to take between two and four months to contain, according to a report from Reuters.
Ebola Virus Disease or Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever causes internal and external bleeding and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, and is fatal in almost all cases. The disease can be spread via human contact with animals or human-to-human contact. There is currently no approved vaccine or specific treatment.
Several companies are currently working on Ebola vaccines and are in the early stages of development and testing, including Inovio (NYSE: INO), GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE: GSK) Okairos and privately-held Vaxart.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TKMR) is developing a treatment for Ebola which is in Phase I testing at this time. A spokesperson for Tekmira told Benzinga the company is proceeding under the guidance of the FDA, who will determine if and when the product can be made available for use. Compassionate use and emergency use are options under consideration. Tekmira shares were trading up $0.32 Tuesday at $19.33. Inovio shares were trading at $2.89, down $0.07.
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