Mali holds Ebola vaccine trials

A doctor checks a Malian child, on January 24, 2013 at a refugee camp set in Menteao, Burkina Faso, near the Malian border (AFP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard)

Bamako (AFP) - Mali's health minister says the west African country has started trials of an Ebola vaccine on scientific researchers.

"It's purely a scientific step. The trials are on volunteer researchers," said Ousmane Kone late Friday.

Mali has no Ebola cases but it borders Guinea, where the outbreak began.

The trials in Bamako are being supervised by the vaccine research centre of the medical school of the University of Maryland in the United States and Mali's health ministry, Kone said.

Trials of the vaccine started in September on 10 US volunteers and sixty people in Britain.

The vaccine is being developed by the British drug company GlaxoSmithKline and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The WHO said 4,033 people have died from Ebola as of October 8 out of a total of 8,399 registered cases in seven countries.