Ebola vaccine bottles

Managing a clinical trial
in an emergency

Deadly health threats, such as the Ebola and Zika viruses, increasingly place urgent demands on the global community. Winning the battle against an outbreak requires a lightning-fast reaction in our interconnected world, where diseases spread faster than ever.

A severe Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa from 2014 to 2016 took many lives and the world was unprepared to respond with preventive medicines or treatment. There is now hope that future outbreaks can be swiftly contained. FHI 360, by managing and monitoring a large-scale clinical trial in Sierra Leone, contributed to the knowledge base needed to develop an Ebola vaccine that has been proven effective.

FHI 360 broke barriers with the clinical trial in Sierra Leone. During the peak of the country’s Ebola epidemic, the FHI 360 team arrived in the country with just 10 days’ notice. There was no existing clinical trial, and the country lacked basic infrastructure, trained staff and even the freezers for storing vaccines. Within four weeks, FHI 360 trained 400 local health professionals in good clinical practice, allowing the initiation of the trial. The trial achieved its first enrollment target of 6,000 patients just two months after the first patient enrolled.

Our experience in Sierra Leone shows that a rapid start-up of a clinical trial can be accomplished. The global community is now closer to preparing for the next Ebola outbreak.

Project name:

Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola


Technical Resources International, Inc.

The challenge of developing a clinical trial for an Ebola vaccine

FHI 360’s Ted FitzGerald, Director of Global Research Services, interviews Clinical Research Manager Haddie Kiernan about our work to set up and conduct an Ebola clinical trial in Sierra Leone.

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Photo credit: Josh Vinson/FHI 360