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DRC rules out trialling experimental Ebola vaccines

Published on 19/07/19 at 11:08am

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said it will stick with Merck’s rVSV-ZEBOV ebola vaccine, as it ruled out trialling other experimental Ebola vaccines.

The government of the DRC has ruled out trialling experimental Ebola vaccines as it suggested that doing so risked “confusing the population.” The Congolese Government is currently trying to control the second worst Ebola outbreak in the history of the world.

The decision comes as health workers have struggled to tackle the outbreak, due in part to resistance from the population who have launched armed attacks against those fighting the spread of the disease.

In explaining their decision the DRC Health Ministry said: “Due to a lack of sufficient scientific evidence on the efficacy and safety of other vaccines, and the risk of confusing the population, it was decided that no clinical trial of vaccines will be authorized [...] during the current Ebola outbreak”

However the government did not rule out using other vaccines “once their efficacy has been proven.”

The decision comes after experts advising the World Health Organization recommended the introduction of other vaccines to ensure that supplies last. The experts specifically mentioned J&J’s experimental vaccine.

Speakign to Reuters, natalie Roebrts operations manager at Medecins Sans Frontieres said: “There are legitimate concerns that the stock of the Merck vaccine is not sufficient to sustain any increased flow of supply for more than a few months, and there is unfortunately no guarantee that this epidemic will be controlled by then”

However the DRC government said there was no problem with supplies of Merck’s vaccines. The statements come after the WHO declared a global public health emergency over the Ebola outbreak in the DRC which has seen 2,400 confirmed and probable cases since August 2018.

Louis Goss

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