DRC APPROVES USE OF EBOLA VACCINE AFTER OUTBREAK
KINSHASA — Democratic Republic of Congo’s health ministry has approved the use of a new Ebola vaccine to counter an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in its northeast that has killed four people, a spokesperson said yesterday.
“The nonobjection was given. Now there’s a Medecins Sans Frontiers team that is arriving [in Congo] today to validate the protocol with the technical teams,” Jonathan Simba, a health ministry spokesperson, said by telephone.
The vaccine, known as rVSVZEBOV and developed by Merck, is not yet licensed but was shown to be highly protective against Ebola in clinical trials last December.
As of Friday, Congo had registered 52 suspected cases, including two that have been confirmed, the World Health Organisation spokesperson in Congo Eugene Kabambi said, adding that the situation seems to be under control.
Simba said that the details of the vaccination campaign would be announced after a meeting of the health ministry and its partners set to take place yesterday or today.
A vaccination campaign would present logistical challenges in Congo’s isolated northeastern forests, including transporting and storing the vaccine in special containers at the required minus 80°C. — Reuters.