The Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Regulatory Authority and Ethics Review Board has formally given the green light for possible use of an unlicensed Ebola vaccine in the wake of the recent outbreak.
The latest reports from the World Health Organization indicates as of May 27, 2017 there were a total of two confirmed cases, four probable deaths and sixteen suspected cases.
“A vaccine makes a huge difference if it is efficacious. It is an added tool that can be deployed so that it can contribute as well as use other measures to limit the side of infection,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti in an interview with Africanews.
I think it could be beneficial in the outbreak itself and contributing to having a clearer picture of this vaccine so that it can be licensed and used more broadly. It's a huge opportunity.
“I think it could be beneficial in the outbreak itself and contributing to having a clearer picture of this vaccine so that it can be licensed and used more broadly. It’s a huge opportunity,” She added.
The vaccine known as rVSV ZEBOV was on trial in Guinea in 2015, involving some 11,841 people.
The DRC government, medical charity group Doctors Without Borders with support from the WHO are working on a detailed plan to offer access to the vaccine.
The WHO did not advise international vaccine deployment and cold chain shipment to the DRC at this point. It however advised that “planning and and arrangement should be in place for immediate deployment if necessary”.