The Witness - - NEWS -

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.

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