Chi­nese sent to help fight Congo Ebola

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Team of physi­cians de­parts this week with do­mes­tic vac­cine for killer dis­ease

out­breaks oc­curred are far away from the cap­i­tal and trans­port is in­con­ve­nient. We are still dis­cussing the de­tails of our work there.

“So in the ini­tial pe­riod of the stay the team mem­bers will try to get fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion,” he says. “We will seek to use the Chi­nese-de­vel­oped vac­cine there to help with con­trol and pre­ven­tion of the dis­ease, but for the present the vac­cines will likely only cover Chi­nese liv­ing in Congo.”

It’s also a pre-emp­tive in­ter­ven­tion for China, as in­fec­tious dis­eases know no na­tional bor­ders, he says.

The vac­cine, jointly de­vel­oped by the Academy of Mil­i­tary Med­i­cal Sciences and Cansi­no­bio, a Chi­nese com­pany in­volved in hu­man vac­cine de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion, was approved by China’s top drug reg­u­la­tor in Oc­to­ber.

This made China the third coun­try, af­ter the United States and Rus­sia, with a vac­cine avail­able of com­bat­ing Ebola, ac­cord­ing to the State Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The vac­cine — re­com­bi­nant Ebola virus dis­ease vac­cine (Ade­n­ovirus type 5 vec­tor) — is avail­able in pow­der form and, com­pared with the liq­uid vac­cines from the other two coun­tries, is more sta­ble, which is an ad­van­tage in trans­porta­tion and use in trop­i­cal ar­eas such as Africa, the ad­min­is­tra­tion says.

By June 2, 53 con­firmed or sus­pected Ebola cases had been re­ported since the most re­cent out­break be­gan on April 4. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion said 25 peo­ple have died so far.

Health ex­perts in Congo have lo­cated more than 1,000 peo­ple who have had con­tact with in­fected pa­tients, and more than 680 have re­ceived vac­ci­na­tions, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

Gao said vac­cines de­vel­oped by a US com­pany are be­ing used in Congo.

Ebola is a se­vere ill­ness in hu­mans, with fa­tal­ity rates that have var­ied from 25 per­cent to 90 per­cent in past out­breaks, ac­cord­ing to the WHO.

There are cur­rently no li­censed treat­ments avail­able, al­though mul­ti­ple ex­per­i­men­tal ther­a­pies are be­ing de­vel­oped.

The largest out­breaks ever oc­curred in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea be­tween 2014 and 2016, caus­ing more than 11,300 deaths in the three West African coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the WHO.

China de­liv­ered the largest scale pub­lic health as­sis­tance in his­tory to other coun­tries fol­low­ing the out­breaks, in­clud­ing send­ing more than 1,000 med­i­cal and pub­lic health ex­perts to the coun­tries to help fight the dis­ease. It pro­vided 750 mil­lion yuan ($117 mil­lion) in as­sis­tance, ac­cord­ing to the For­eign Min­istry.

Gao, from the Chi­nese CDC, says China will in­ten­sify co­op­er­a­tion with African na­tions to help them bet­ter cope with in­fec­tious dis­ease pre­ven­tion and con­trol.

“We will ful­fill our pledge to sup­port the build­ing of a cen­ter for dis­ease con­trol and pre­ven­tion in Africa, in­clud­ing train­ing ex­perts in Africa,” he says. “We will help build a cen­ter for pre­ven­tion, con­trol and re­search of trop­i­cal dis­eases in Sierra Leone, and con­tinue the mon­i­tor­ing of emerg­ing pathogens such as Ebola in West Africa.”

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