A Canadian pharmaceutical company called Tekmira has been at work for the past few years on an Ebola treatment called TKM-Ebola. It has been among the most advanced attempts at a drug that could protect against, and treat, the disease — but was also recently dealt a setback by the Food and Drug Administration.
Diseases like Ebola often have difficulty attracting investment, as pharmaceutical companies rarely see a large payday in tackling a disease that has rare outbreaks and affects a low-income area of the world.
But TKM-Ebola has attracted the interest of the government. The Defense Department awarded it a contract for $140 million in 2010, after the vaccine proved completely effective in treating non-human primates in chimps. The government's interest in vaccinating against Ebola is largely rooted in preventing bioterrorism attacks, where the disease could be used a weapon.
In January, TKM-Ebola began Phase One trials with the Food and Drug Administration, injecting its first patient with the drug on January 14. This is the phase where drug companies test whether a drug is safe — that it doesn't create dangerous complications or side effects — before bigger studies look at whether the drug actually works.
The drug got added to the FDA's "fast track" schedule two months later, in March. That's a designation given to drugs that can help treat conditions without any current therapies. Once a drug receives that designation, its creators are eligible for more frequent meetings with FDA regulators, aimed at speeding up the drug's development.
For the rest of the story: http://www.vox.com/2014/8/3/5962381/ebola-outbreak-vaccine-fda-halted-trials