Ebola vaccine human trials begin

First phase of Ebola vaccine human trials set... 02:41

There's now a vaccine against Ebola being tested to see if it's safe.

The vaccine is produced by Glaxo Smith Kline and is being tested on healthy volunteers. Nurse Ruth Atkins got the first dose.

In addition to the 40 subjects in Mali, 20 are being tested at the National Institutes of Health here in the U.S. and 60 in the U.K. It's the first phase of a multi-step process before approval.

The vaccine has been effective in primates, but this is the first human trial.

"This is happening extraordinarily rapidly," said Adrian Hill, chief researcher in the U.K. "We've done over 100 clinical trials at this center, typically it would take us about six months to get a vaccine trial started, we've done this in just under four weeks. Everybody revealing the protocol, we've done this in record time."

This is an example of efforts by the World Health Organization and the NIH to accelerate Ebola research without being reckless.

"You can't just give it out," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "You have to determine if it works. That will likely take place in the first quarter of 2015."

A trial for a different vaccine is set to begin this fall at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. It's licensed to Newlink Genetics. The company declined a request for an interview. Several experimental medications have been tried in individual cases.

  • Jon Lapook
    Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the chief medical correspondent for CBS News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook