Novartis – NIH/NIAID Ebola Vaccine Candidate

Partnership objective

Pursuing research for an Ebola vaccine to help fight the deadly virus.

Red Cross volunteers in Sierra Leone. Red Cross volunteers in Sierra Leone. Copyright IFRC/Kathy Mueller

What are the health needs and challenges?

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The EVD case fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 70%; the average rate in past outbreaks has varied from 25% to 90%.

The current Ebola outbreak is the largest and most complex since the virus was first discovered in 1976. The World Health Organization has called it a global health emergency requiring an unprecedented, international response.

Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to expand with isolated cases now being reported in Europe and North America, Novartis is working with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in researching a way to inhibit Ebola replication.

Researchers from the Novartis Vaccines division have been collaborating with scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases since 2011 to evaluate two Novartis vaccine technology platforms for potential use as a preventive vaccine and post-exposure treatment of the fatal disease. Specifically, Novartis’ RNA-based vaccine and small molecule TLR7 agonist technologies have demonstrated proof of concept in animal models at preventing and treating lethal Ebola virus infections, respectively.

In addition to collaborating with US government agencies, representatives from the Novartis Ebola Task Force attended a World Health Organization consultation on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines in Geneva in early September and Novartis continues to follow guidance from the organization to help guide response efforts.

Novartis and its employees are also contributing financially and through product donations. 

Partnership information

Company(ies) Novartis

Partner(s) US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, US National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government

Therapeutic Focus Neglected Tropical Diseases

Disease(s) Ebola

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Emergency Aid, Prevention Programs - Vaccines, Research & Development - Development of Treatments

Targeted Population(s) Health professionals, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 3

Country(ies) Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Start Date 2014

More information Novartis Responds to the Ebola Outbreak

Completed date 2015