DRC approves new vaccine to counter Ebola virus


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has given approval for the use of a new vaccine to fight against the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the country's north-eastern region.

Developed by US-based pharmaceutical company Merck, the new rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine has been approved by the health ministry of DRC.

To date, four deaths caused due to the virus have been recorded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the north-east, reported Anadolu Agency.

DRC Health Ministry spokesman Jonathan Simba was quoted by Reuters as saying: “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.”

"Now there's a Medecins Sans Frontieres team that is arriving (in Congo) today to validate the protocol with the technical teams."

In clinical trials published December last year, the new vaccine, though not licensed, demonstrated its ability in protecting people against Ebola.

In a statement, WHO Congo spokesman Eugene Kabambi said that until 26 May the country reported a total of 52 suspected Ebola cases, two of which have been confirmed, reported Reuters.

As stated by Simba, details of the vaccination campaign are expected to be announced after a meeting conducted between the country’s health ministry and its partners.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic is reported to have said that the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine will be administered after 'an Ebola virus disease (EVD) laboratory-confirmed case is identified outside already defined chains of transmission'.

In such cases, the vaccination would be offered to contacts and contacts of contacts of a confirmed EVD patient, as well as to the healthcare workers and field laboratory workers.