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Ebola vaccine to be ready by 2018 after successful trials - WHO

Ebola virus

An experimental Ebola vaccine has been proven to be highly effective against one of two strains of the virus according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck was tried in Guinea, one of the three most affected countries by Ebola.

The anti-ebola vaccine which prevents human infection, it is the first vaccine for which efficacy against the Zaire strain has been shown.

“I really believe that now we have a tool which would allow to control a new outbreak of Ebola, of the Zaire-strain – because there are two strains circulating, one is Zaire, and the other one is called Sudan. So for the called Sudan-Ebola, there is a need to develop the same vaccine, but we are now in a position to intervene and stop transmission of any outbreak of the Ebola-type (sic), of the Zaire-type,” WHO’s Assistant-Director general for Health Systems and innovation Marie-Paule Kieny said.

The trial used a ring vaccination and about 5,000 people received the vaccination with no Ebola cases recorded after the period of 10 days.

Nevertheless, the vaccine still needs full regulatory approval, expected by 2018.

“At this stage the producer Merck is preparing a dossier to submit for registration, because what we need in the end is a vaccine which can be used without a trial, without a study. So they will end up the preparation of their dossier for submission both in the US, with the US FDA, and in Europe, with the European Medicines Agency, in 2017. So we may have a vaccine which is registered in 2018,” explained Kieny.

The virus which spreads by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids, has killed at least 11,300 people in West Africa since 2013.

Today, there are over 10,000 survivors of Ebola virus disease.