New Ebola Vaccine Heads To Congo
In an effort to counter the ongoing spread of ebola, Democratic Republic of Congo has approved the use of a new vaccine considered to be highly protective against the disease.
The news was confirmed by Jonathan Simba, Congo’s health ministry spokesman.
Simba said, “The non-objection was given. Now there’s a Medecins Sans Frontieres team that is arriving (in Congo) today to validate the protocol with the technical teams.”
The vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV and developed by Merck, took about two decades to develop. Though not yet licensed, it is expected to be given approval by World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by 2018.
Cases of Ebola
The country has reported about 52 total suspected cases. The first known case occurred on April 22, when a 39-year-old man who had fever, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding died on the way to a hospital. The person caring for him and a motorcyclist who transported him also died.
Amid reports of the ongoing outbreak, the country’s health experts stressed that the situation is under control. In fact, the outbreak already shows signs of slowing down and there hasn’t been a new confirmed case since May 11.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever with symptoms similar to that of extreme radiation exposure. Hemorrhagic refers to blood and a hemorrhagic disease is one which essentially breaks down the blood vessels and blood leaks into the body, lungs, and intestines.
The Powerful Vaccine
The powerful vaccine was created through brilliant collaboration of scientists in the U.S. and Canada. The scientists started working on it back in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, lack of funding put the vaccine on the shelf for years.
The 2014 outbreak triggered people in Europe and the United States to reach out and provided the political and economic drive to make an effective vaccine.
Toward the end of the outbreak in West Africa, scientists began testing the vaccine in a large trial with more than 4,000 people. The efficacy of the vaccine was commendable. The vaccine was proven effective and offers 100% protection. Aside from that, the vaccine opens up new, faster, more efficient ways to encircle and strangle the virus.