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Ebola epidemic: Canada delivers vaccine
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has already killed around 4,500 people. Since there is still no cure or approved vaccine against the deadly infectious disease, only Ebola symptoms can be treated in patients. Canada will now provide a vaccine that has shown promising results in animal studies.
Canada Provides Vaccine According to the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO), over 4,550 people in West Africa have already died of Ebola. The countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are particularly affected. To date, more than 9,200 cases have been identified in a total of seven nations. A cure or approved vaccine is still not available. Therefore, doctors typically need to limit themselves to relieving the symptoms of the deadly infectious disease. But now hope is growing again. Press reports indicate that Canada will provide WHO with a vaccine to help fight the virus.
Promising results in animal experiments It is said that the vaccine has not yet been tested on humans, but has achieved “promising results” in animal experiments. The WHO announced that the substance is currently being tested on humans and that a decision will soon be made on how the experimental active substance will be distributed and used. The North American country had already announced in August that it would deliver the VSV-EBOV vaccine developed in Canada to WHO for use in Africa. However, both sides had argued over logistical and ethical issues. According to the government, the now announced 800 units of the drug will be delivered in three separate deliveries to the WHO headquarters in Geneva from Monday. It has been stated that they must be kept at extremely low temperatures at all times. Due to the lack of experience, it is still unclear how many people can be treated with it.
If successful, vaccination could begin in early 2015. The US company NewLink Genetics has a license for the commercial use of the vaccine. In August, the company said it could produce tens of thousands of units of the drug within a month or two. Other companies are also researching similar products, according to the information. For example, the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced on Saturday that relevant research was progressing faster than expected. Preliminary results are still expected for 2014 and if successful, vaccination of medical staff in Africa could begin in early 2015.
Greater commitment required On Saturday, the aid organization Oxfam warned that there was only a two-month window to contain the epidemic. The German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), however, called for greater engagement by the international community. Steinmeier will open the “World Health Summit” conference starting this Sunday, at which experts from around 90 countries want to advise on the Ebola epidemic, among other things. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, called on the population not to fall into Ebola hysteria. (ad)
Image: Jens Goetzke / pixelio.de