GAVI Alliance has reached an agreement with American pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck to produce a vaccine expected to fight future deadly outbreaks of the Ebola virus.
According to the deal sealed during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gavi will provide 5 million dollars to help develop the vaccine before its approval by a regulatory agency in 2017.
“We are very pleased to join with Gavi in announcing this advance purchase commitment agreement to support the provision of MSD’s investigational monovalent Ebola Zaire vaccine – in case of a resurgence of the Ebola outbreak or a new outbreak,” Dr Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health for Merck said.
It is our moral duty to ensure that people do not miss out simply because of where they are born or whether they can afford to pay.
Merck, the pharmaceutical manufacturer is expected to have 300,000 doses of the vaccine available as from May 2016 for trials.
“Ensuring a vaccine will be available to protect people who might have missed out due to a market failure lies at the heart of what makes Gavi so important in global health. It is our moral duty to ensure that people do not miss out simply because of where they are born or whether they can afford to pay,” Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,Gavi Board Chair said.
If approved, the vaccine would become the world’s first licensed Ebola vaccine. Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, vaccine providers have been working to develop an effective and safe vaccine.
Despite early stage development efforts a decade ago, no manufacturer had a vaccine in phase III trials when the outbreak began.
Since 2013, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has claimed the lives of more than 11,300 people.
Few days ago, the WHO announced that no new Ebola cases had been reported in the three worst affected countries in the preceding 42 days. Sierra Leone later reported an Ebola-related death.