VSV-ZEBOV was originally developed by Canada’s public health agency before being licensed to NewLink Genetics, which then signed a deal handing Merck the responsibility to research, develop, manufacture and distribute it.
A vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus has led to 100 per cent protection and could transform the way Ebola is tackled, preliminary results suggest.
Because of the effective results, randomization for the trial was dropped on July 26, and everyone at risk was immediately given the vaccine.
He said further tests would be necessary to see if the vaccine might also protect pregnant women, children and adolescents; those trials are already under way. It involved more than 3,500 people; 2,000 received the vaccine soon after coming in close contact with someone with Ebola, and the rest received the vaccine 21 days after contact. “With such high efficacy, all affected countries should immediately start and multiply ring vaccinations to break chains of transmission and vaccinate all frontline workers to protect them”.
“We believe that the world is on the verge of an efficacious Ebola vaccine”, WHO vaccine expert Marie Paule Kieny told reporters in a briefing from Geneva. Younger people also will now be eligible for the trial, the World Health Organization said.
Researchers from across the world have been working together to find a way to combat the virus that has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people and can kill within days. “An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks”.
Jean Francoi Tolno and Hawa Madi, Team 9 of the WHO Ebola vaccine trial, at work in Katongourou, Guinea.
This is the first time an experimental Ebola vaccine has proven effective.
The vaccine was offered to 4,000 people, with a trial period beginning in March, and ending this week.
That way one vaccine could be stockpiled and used to control all Ebola outbreaks.
Researchers in the Guinea trial say the number of new clusters of potential patients is falling, because the rate of new diagnoses in the country has dropped.
The WHO’s Ebola response coordinator in Guinea, Mohammed Belhocine, said the development should be celebrated, but people should not let their guard drop yet.
To completely eradicate the deadly disease – which most recently swept through parts of Africa last year, devastating communities and killing thousands of people – anyone who may have come in contact with an infected person would get vaccinated.
Dr Bertrand Draguez, of Doctors Without Borders, which helped test the vaccine in its treatment clinics in Guinea, said the immunisation should immediately be made available.