The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will help fund the development of a new Ebola vaccine, the agency said Thursday, amid a seemingly out of control epidemic in Africa and growing fears of the deadly disease spreading here.

The agency will provide $5.8 million as part of a one-year contract with a Baltimore-based company, according to a news release. The agency has the option to extend the partnership to a total of 13 months and $8.6 million. While there is no Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine for Ebola, according to the Centers for Disease Control, this would be the third experimental vaccine. There have been more than 8,900 reported cases of the disease in West Africa as of Oct. 15, according to the CDC. Two nurses in Texas have also been diagnosed with the disease, the first cases of an outbreak in the U.S.

"We are pushing hard to advance the development of multiple products as quickly as possible for clinical evaluation," said Dr. Robin Robinson, the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.