Drugmakers bet on Ebola vaccines, treatments

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Ebola experimental vaccine + quarantines in the US - 10/26/2014
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Drugmakers bet on Ebola vaccines, treatments
A volunteer from the non-governemental organization gets an injection of an Ebola vaccine called ChAd3 as part of trials on November 4, 2014 at the CHUV hospital in Lausanne. Most of the 120 volunteers will receive the experimental vaccine made by Britain's GlaxoSmithKine, which is based on a genetically modified chimpanzee adenovirus, but some of them will receive a placebo. (Photo by Richard Juilliart/AFP/Getty Images)
Professor Adrian Hill, Director leader of the trials for the experimental Ebola vaccine holds a vial of the vaccine in Oxford, England Wednesday Sept. 17, 2014. A former nurse will be the first of 60 healthy volunteers in the U.K. who will receive the vaccine. The vaccine was developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline and targets the Zaire strain of Ebola, the cause of the ongoing outbreak in West Africa. A trial of the same vaccine has already begun in the U.S. (AP Photo/Steve Parsons/Pool)
Health workers places the body of a man, inside a plastic body bag as he is suspected of dying due to the Ebola virus as people, rear, look on in Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. As West Africa struggles to contain the biggest ever outbreak of Ebola, some experts say an unusual but simple treatment might help: the blood of survivors. The evidence is mixed for using infection-fighting antibodies from survivors' blood for Ebola, but without any licensed drugs or vaccines for the deadly disease, some say it's worth a shot. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A doctor holds a syringe containing the Ebola vaccine called ChAd3 during trials on November 4, 2014 at the CHUV hospital in Lausanne. Most of the 120 volunteers will receive the experimental vaccine made by Britain's GlaxoSmithKine,Âwhich is based on a genetically modified chimpanzee adenovirus, but some of them will receive a placebo. (Photo by Richard Juilliart/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 24: Jeff Hulbert of Annapolis, Maryland, holds up a sign in front of the White House on October 24, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Hulbert is protesting for a mandatory quarantine for people that have returned from Ebola affected countries. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Police set up a barrier in front of The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, New York, on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer visited the bowling alley before being Quarantined at the Bellevue Hospital after testing positive for Ebola. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading, after a doctor tested positive for the disease. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Dr Felicity Hartnell, who is a clinical research fellow at Oxford University, injects former nurse Ruth Atkins the first of 60 healthy volunteers in the UK who will receive an experimental vaccine against Ebola in Oxford, England Wednesday Sept. 17, 2014. The vaccine was developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline and targets the Zaire strain of Ebola, the cause of the ongoing outbreak in West Africa. A trial of the same vaccine has already begun in the U.S. (AP Photo/Steve Parsons/Pool)
A sign on the gate for the entrance to Bellevue Hospital is viewed on October 24, 2014 in New York, the morning after it was confirmed that Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola. New York confirmed the first case of Ebola in the largest city in the United States as the EU dramatically ramped up aid Friday to contain the killer epidemic ravaging west Africa.The EU announcement of one billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the worst-hit countries comes as fears of a spread of the virus grew, with the first confirmed case in Mali, where a two-year-old girl has tested positive. Craig Spencer was placed in isolation at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center, officials said. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, left, speaks as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie listens at a news conference, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 in New York. The governors announced a mandatory quarantine for people returning to the United States through airports in New York and New Jersey who are deemed "high risk." In the first application of the new set of standards, the states are quarantining a female healthcare worker returning from Africa who took care of Ebola patients. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Dr Felicity Hartnell, who is a clinical research fellow at Oxford University, holds a vial of an experimental vaccine against Ebola in Oxford, England Wednesday Sept. 17, 2014. A former nurse will be the first of 60 healthy volunteers in the UK who will receive the vaccine. The vaccine was developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline and targets the Zaire strain of Ebola, the cause of the ongoing outbreak in West Africa. A trial of the same vaccine has already begun in the U.S. (AP Photo/Steve Parsons/Pool)
New York Gov. Andrew Coumo speaks during a news conference at Bellevue Hospital to discuss Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician who tested positive for the Ebola virus, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in New York. Spencer recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, left, listens as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks at a news conference, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 in New York. The governors announced a mandatory quarantine for people returning to the United States through airports in New York and New Jersey who are deemed "high risk." In the first application of the new set of standards, the states are quarantining a female healthcare worker returning from Africa who took care of Ebola patients. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Dr. Craig Spencer, of Columbia University Medical Center, has been identified by the New York Daily News as a doctor who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea. CUMC is near to the West 147th Street apartment the 33-year-old doctor was taken from this afternoon. (Facebook)
A newspaper vendor holds up a copy of the NY Post in front of the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 24, 2014 in New York, the morning after it was confirmed that Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola. New York confirmed the first case of Ebola in the largest city in the United States as the EU dramatically ramped up aid Friday to contain the killer epidemic ravaging west Africa.The EU announcement of one billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the worst-hit countries comes as fears of a spread of the virus grew, with the first confirmed case in Mali, where a two-year-old girl has tested positive. Craig Spencer was placed in isolation at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center, officials said. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents pass the apartment building of Doctor Craig Spencer on October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: In this image handout provided by the Office of Mayor of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama following an Ebola-related press conference at Bellevue Hospital in in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. According to reports, test results have confirmed that Spencer has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus. (Photo by Rob Bennett/Office of Mayor of New York/Getty Images)
New York Police Department officers guard TV news trucks on 1st Avenue in front of Bellevue Hospital on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Police keep members of the media and others back from the closed Brooklyn bowling alley that New York City's first Ebola patient visited before showing symptoms of the virus on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to the US from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on Thursday and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, recently visited the Williamsburg bowling alley The Gutter. The Gutter has closed temporarily as an extra precaution and to be cleaned. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: An employee from Bio Recovery Corporation carries equipment into 546 West 147th Street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, the doctor recently diagnosed with Ebola, on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Bio Recovery Corporation was handling the clean-up of Dr. Spencer's apartment after he was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday night. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24, 2014: United States Postal Service mailman Keven Ngo makes a delivery to West 147th Street, while wearing a protective mask, on October 24, 2014 in New York, NY. Ngo said that he didn't typically wear a mask but, since Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola, he had begun wearing the mask for his protection. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
Demonstrators with the United African Congress (UAC) hold a rally for the 'Stop Ebola' movement in New York on October 24, 2014 the morning after it was confirmed that Doctor Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola, making him New York City's first Ebola patient. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police stand in front of the gate of The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, New York, on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer visited the bowling alley before being Quarantined at the Bellevue Hospital after testing positive for Ebola. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading, after a doctor tested positive for the disease. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Hazmat crews arrive outside the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, who has been diagnosed with Ebola is being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading after a doctor tested positive for the disease. Craig Spencer, 33, was in a stable condition in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center on Friday after testing positive for the illness, which has killed nearly 4,900 people in West Africa. He was rushed to the hospital with fever and gastrointestinal symptoms on Thursday, a week after returning from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with charity Doctors Without Borders. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Hazmat crews arrive outside the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, who has been diagnosed with Ebola is being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading after a doctor tested positive for the disease. Craig Spencer, 33, was in a stable condition in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center on Friday after testing positive for the illness, which has killed nearly 4,900 people in West Africa. He was rushed to the hospital with fever and gastrointestinal symptoms on Thursday, a week after returning from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with charity Doctors Without Borders. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Traffic passes Bellevue Hospital, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in New York. Dr. Craig Spencer, a resident of New York City and a member of Doctors Without Borders, was admitted to Bellevue Thursday and has been diagnosed with Ebola. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Police officers stand outside 546 W. 147th street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23, 2014: A health alert is displayed at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: A New York City Police officer stands at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Bellevue Hospital is viewed following a news conference on how the facility would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Ebola Virus at 108,000 Magnification
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: A member of Bellevue's Hospital staff wears protective clothing during a demonstration on how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Bellevue Hospital is viewed following a news conference on how the facility would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
EBOLA VIRUSES,DISPLAYING TYPICAL SHAPES, INCLUDING RECURVING ENDS
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Bellevue Hospital is viewed following a news conference on how the facility would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Members of Bellevue Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they demonstrate how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Members of Bellevue Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they demonstrate how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Ebola Zaire virus
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: A member of Bellevue's Hospital staff wears protective clothing during a demonstration on how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Members of Bellevue Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they demonstrate how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: A police car sits in front of 546 W. 147th street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a doctor recently diagnosed with ebola, on October 24, 2014 in New York, NY. The doctor, who recently returned from Guinea after working with Doctors Without Borders, was diagnosed with ebola on Thursday evening after developing a fever earlier in the day. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: A health alert is displayed at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: A man mops the lobby of 546 W. 147th street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. According to reports, test results have confirmed that Spencer has been diagnosed witht the Ebola virus. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
Members of the Department of Defense's Ebola Military Medical Support Team dress with protective gear during training at San Antonio Military Medical Center, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Antonio. The team will consist of 20 critical care nurses, 5 doctors trained in infectious disease, and 5 trainers in infectious disease protocols. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: United States Postal Service mailman Keven Ngo makes a delivery to West 147th Street, while wearing a protective mask, on October 24, 2014 in New York, NY. Ngo said that he didn't typically wear a mask but, since Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola, he had begun wearing the mask for his protection. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
Demonstrators with the United African Congress (UAC) hold a rally for the 'Stop Ebola' movement in New York on October 24, 2014 the morning after it was confirmed that Doctor Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola, making him New York City's first Ebola patient. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police stand in front of the gate of The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, New York, on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer visited the bowling alley before being Quarantined at the Bellevue Hospital after testing positive for Ebola. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading, after a doctor tested positive for the disease. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Hazmat crews arrive outside the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, who has been diagnosed with Ebola is being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading after a doctor tested positive for the disease. Craig Spencer, 33, was in a stable condition in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center on Friday after testing positive for the illness, which has killed nearly 4,900 people in West Africa. He was rushed to the hospital with fever and gastrointestinal symptoms on Thursday, a week after returning from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with charity Doctors Without Borders. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers from BioRecoveryCorp carry equipment from the apartment building of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in New York. Spencer remained in stable condition while isolated in a hospital, talking by cellphone to his family and assisting disease detectives who are accounting for his every movement since arriving in New York from Guinea via Europe on Oct. 17. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
A worker from BioRecoveryCorp carry equipment from the apartment building of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in New York. Spencer remained in stable condition while isolated in a hospital, talking by cellphone to his family and assisting disease detectives who are accounting for his every movement since arriving in New York from Guinea via Europe on Oct. 17. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: A man shows the front page of a local newspaper while reading in the subway on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to New York from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on October 23 and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, rode the subway after returning home. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24, 2014: A couple read news about Ebola on a screen in Times Square on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to New York from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on October 23 and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, travelled around the city after returning home. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Bio Recovery Corporation employees carry equipment into 546 West 147th Street October 24, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea, where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing where he was officially diagnosed with the Ebola virus on October 23rd. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks in front of The Gutter bowling alley where New York City's first Ebola patient visited before showing symptoms of the virus on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to the US from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on Thursday and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, recently visited the Williamsburg bowling alley The Gutter. The Gutter has closed temporarily as an extra precaution and to be cleaned. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Drugmakers are racing to develop vaccines and drugs to address the worst outbreak of Ebola in history. It's unclear who will pay for their products, but companies are betting that governments and aid groups will foot the bill.

There are no proven drugs or vaccines for Ebola, in large part because the disease is so rare that up until now it's been hard to attract research funding. And the West African nations hardest hit by the outbreak are unlikely to be able to afford new Ebola vaccines and drugs.

But governments and corporations now are shifting millions of dollars to fight Ebola in the wake of the outbreak that has infected nearly 10,000 people and killed over 4,800. Experts say drugmakers are wagering that international groups and wealthier governments like the U.S. will buy Ebola vaccines and drugs in mass quantities to stockpile them for future use once they're deemed safe.

"The political bet is that the U.S. and World Health Organization have been so embarrassed and burned by this event that they will be willing to change the way they do business," said Professor Lawrence Gostin of the Georgetown University Law School, who studies global health issues.

Drugmakers have benefited from stockpiling before. During the bird flu pandemic of 2009, Western governments spent billions to stock up on drugs and vaccines that mostly went unused. Shelf-life varies by product, but can be as little as a year.

Still, it's unclear who will pay for the Ebola vaccines that are in development, even after a WHO meeting on Thursday that included government officials, drugmakers and philanthropic groups.

"Something concrete needs to be developed soon," said Dr. Manica Balasegaram of Doctors Without Borders, who attended the meeting. "This needs to done in tandem for us to prepare for when these vaccines are deployed in the larger scale beyond clinical trials."

Even with the uncertainty, drug companies are rushing to begin testing in patients.

Johnson & Johnson said last week it will begin safety testing in early January of a vaccine combination that could protect against an Ebola strain that is "highly similar" to the virus that triggered the current outbreak.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey, company is spending up to $200 million to speed up production of the vaccine, which it licensed in part from a Danish company last month. If safety tests are successful, the company hopes to begin large clinical trials in May 2015.

The two leading Ebola vaccines in the pipeline have largely been funded by government efforts, but their testing is being completed by a combination of corporate and public financing.

Human trials of a vaccine co-developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline are being funded by the company, its charitable trust and funds from the U.S. and U.K. governments. It is being tested for safety in the U.S., U.K. and Mali. GSK said it might be able to make about 1 million doses of its vaccine per month by the end of 2015, assuming that some logistical and regulatory hurdles can be overcome.

A small U.S. drugmaker, NewLink Genetics, holds the license on the second front-runner vaccine, which was initially developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and has been sent to the U.S. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland for testing on healthy volunteers, with preliminary safety results expected by December.

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny from the U.N. health agency told reporters last week that millions of doses could be available in 2015 in West Africa if early tests proved that the two leading experimental vaccines are safe and provoke enough of an immune response to protect people from being infected with Ebola. Kieny also said five other possible Ebola vaccines should start being tested in March, but she gave no details about who is making them, or where those five vaccines would be tested.

Virologist Ben Neuman said the unprecedented focus on Ebola also will benefit smaller companies that are developing drugs that can slow the diseases, such as MAPP Pharmaceuticals of San Diego and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals of Canada.

"There are lots of very promising options out there," said Neuman, a professor at the University of Reading in Britain. "One of the treatments or vaccines that they are trying now is going to work. But we don't know which one."

While there are no reliable estimates of the potential market size for an Ebola drug or vaccine, some drugmakers have already seen their stocks rise on the potential of the therapies in their pipelines.

Neuman noted that while Ebola was only confirmed at the end of March, there were reports of suspected Ebola in January. Tekmira's stock price tripled between January and April of this year.

"For small pharma, the fate of the company can turn on one drug like these," he said.

In 2009, Roche saw sales of its Tamiflu antiviral medication jump by $1.74 billion as governments around the world snapped up drugs in anticipation of a bird flu outbreak that never materialized. The U.S. has provided billions of dollars of incentives to reinvigorate flu vaccine production by companies like Glaxo and Novartis. Because of complex testing and manufacturing procedures, vaccines are expensive to produce and only a handful of companies compete in the space.

The U.S. government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority also awards federal contracts to keep drugmakers producing other emergency countermeasures, including antibiotics, anthrax vaccines and treatments for botulism. But since September, the agency has allocated more than $32 million toward companies working on vaccines and drugs for Ebola.

"To me, Ebola is a game changer," Gostin said. "All the things we thought about in terms of research priorities and development of drugs and vaccines need to be rethought."

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