Vaccines

Trial of Tekmira's TKM-Ebola treatment starts in Sierra Leone

People walk past a billboard encouraging people suffering from symptoms linked to Ebola to present themselves at a health facility for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday,  Aug. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)

People walk past a billboard encouraging people suffering from symptoms linked to Ebola to present themselves at a health facility for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)

A clinical trial of Tekmira's experimental drug TKM-Ebola-Guinea will start on Wednesday in Sierra Leone, Britain's Wellcome Trust global health charity said. 

The drug, a so-called "synthetic small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic", is designed specifically to target the strain of Ebola virus causing a vast epidemic centered mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

An earlier version of the TKM-Ebola drug -- targeted at a different strain -- has already been tested in healthy human volunteers.

The efficacy of the Guinea version will now be tested in Ebola patients in a fast-tracked trial funded by Wellcome, with results expected in the second half of this year, the charity said in a statement.