Implementing an Ebola vaccine study: Sierra Leone

Marc-Alain Widdowson, Stephanie J Schrag, Rosalind J Carter, Wendy Carr, Jennifer Legardy-Williams, Laura Gibson, Durodami R Lisk, Mohamed I Jalloh, Donald A Bash-Taqi, Samuel A Sheku Kargbo, Ayesha Idriss, Gibrilla F Deen, James B W Russell, Wendi McDonald, Alison P Albert, Michelle Basket, Amy Callis, Victoria M Carter, Kelli R Clifton Ogunsanya, Julianne GeeRobert Pinner, Barbara E Mahon, Susan T Goldstein, Jane F Seward, Mohamed Samai, Anne Schuchat

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


In October 2014, the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences of the University of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and CDC joined the global effort to accelerate assessment and availability of candidate Ebola vaccines and began planning for the Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola (STRIVE). STRIVE was an individually randomized controlled phase II/III trial to evaluate efficacy, immunogenicity, and safety of the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus Ebola vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV). The study population was health care and frontline workers in select chiefdoms of the five most affected districts in Sierra Leone. Participants were randomized to receive a single intramuscular dose of rVSV-ZEBOV at enrollment or to receive a single intramuscular dose 18-24 weeks after enrollment. All participants were followed up monthly until 6 months after vaccination. Two substudies separately assessed detailed reactogenicity over 1 month and immunogenicity over 12 months. During the 5 months before the trial, STRIVE and partners built a research platform in Sierra Leone comprising participant follow-up sites, cold chain, reliable power supply, and vaccination clinics and hired and trained at least 350 national staff. Wide-ranging community outreach, informational sessions, and messaging were conducted before and during the trial to ensure full communication to the population of the study area regarding procedures and current knowledge about the trial vaccine. During April 9-August 15, 2015, STRIVE enrolled 8,673 participants, of whom 453 and 539 were also enrolled in the safety and immunogenicity substudies, respectively. As of April 28, 2016, no Ebola cases and no vaccine-related serious adverse events, which by regulatory definition include death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization, or permanent disability, were reported in the study population. Although STRIVE will not produce an estimate of vaccine efficacy because of low case frequency as the epidemic was controlled, data on safety and immunogenicity will support decisions on licensure of rVSV-ZEBOV.The activities summarized in this report would not have been possible without collaboration with many U.S. and international partners (

Original languageEnglish
JournalMMWR Supplements
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S./organization & administration
  • Communication
  • Ebola Vaccines/administration & dosage
  • Epidemics/prevention & control
  • Forecasting
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/ethics
  • Research Design
  • Sierra Leone/epidemiology
  • United States


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