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Ebola infections climb above 14,400 as Canada starts trials

November 14, 2014

Despite all efforts, the number of Ebola deaths and infections continues to rise, the WHO has announced. Canada has said it will start clinical trials for a promising vaccine that could help stem the outbreak.

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Image: Joern Pollex/Getty Images

The number of people who have died of Ebola has risen to 5,177, according to figures released Friday by the World Health Organization (WHO), and a total of 14,413 people have become infected in eight countries.

The 315 new infections reported over the past two days have occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - the worst affected countries since the current outbreak started in February.

The WHO last released figures two days ago, on Wednesday, when it reported 5,160 deaths and 14,098 infections.

Liberia lifts state of emergency

On Thursday, Liberia lifted its state of emergency, which had been imposed for three months. The government said that while the virus still posed a threat, the situation was under control.

"I have informed the leadership of the national legislature that I will not seek an extension of the state of emergency," President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced.

While the West African country has been among the hardest hit by the hemorrhagic disease, Sirleaf said authorities and officials were now able to "sustain our fight against the virus" without the additional emergency measures, imposed in early August, but stressed that the relaxation was "not because the fight against Ebola is over."

Canada to start vaccine trials

Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced on Friday that Canada was starting trials for its first experimental Ebola vaccine.

Ambrose said the vaccine would be tested on 40 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 65 "to access its safety, determine the appropriate dosage and identify any possible side effects."

Results of the trials of the VSV-EBOV vaccine are expected at the beginning of next year.

Trials are also taking place in the United States at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and National Institutes of Health.

There is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine against the infectious disease but the UN health agency has identified two experimental vaccines that have shown positive results tested on monkeys. These were the Canadian VSV-EBOV, licensed by the US company NewLink Genetics, and one made by the British firm GlaxoSmithKline.

sb/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)