A highly effective vaccine that protects agaisnt the deadly Ebola virus could be available for use in 2018 under a fast-track drug-approval process, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. The company has promised to make 300,000 doses available for emergency use in the interim.
First identified in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus erupted periodically in outbreaks of up to a couple hundred cases, mainly across west and east Africa. Towards the end of the outbreak, Merck was ready to run a large-scale trial to test the effectiveness of its experimental vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV.
Meanwhile, the vaccine was found to have few "mild" side effects, including headache, fatigue, muscle pain, fever and an allergic reaction.
The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, involved 11,841 people and took place in coastal regions where Ebola cases were still occurring when the trial began in 2015.
"The premise is that by vaccinating all people who have come into contact with an infected person, you create a protective "ring" and stop the virus from spreading further", John-Arne Rottingen of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, which has been involved in implementing the trial, told CNN a year ago.
Researchers working on the crisis wrote the outbreak was "clearly not the ideal situation for doing a vaccine trial", but urgent global need for a solution helped spur work with local government to establish an effective method "in compliance with good clinical practice and worldwide standards".
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A medical breakthrough has seen nearly 6,000 people at risk of Ebola given the drug, with none going on to fall ill 10 days or more after vaccination.
The vaccine was proven effective and offers 100% protection.
The trial was conducted on 11,841 citizens of Guinea this week.
The post Final trial results confirm Ebola vaccine provides "high protection" - World Health Organization appeared first on BusinessDay: News you can trust. In comparison, the control groups that received a delayed vaccination saw 23 cases of infection. The company is expected to seek regulatory approval in the US and Europe sometime next year.
"Ebola left a devastating legacy in our country", Sakoba said.
The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine needs to be approved by a regulatory agency such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the European Medicines Agency.
Additional studies are ongoing to provide more data on the safety of the vaccine in children and other vulnerable populations such as people with HIV.