Nairobi, KENYA: Pharmaceutical giant company Merck is in talks with the World Health Organization WHO to ensure a roll out of Ebola vaccine rVSV-EBOV to fight spread of this deadly virus.
“The vaccine had to undergo clinical trials. Phase 1and 2 trials proved to be very successful. During Phase 1 tests were made on a small of group of people to see whether it was safe,” Dr. Samuel Oti, Senior Program Specialist at International Development Research Centre IDRC, told Baraka FM.
Dr. Oti on Tuesday said that the first trial was conducted in a laboratory in Canada, to check for any side effects and the right doses that should be used in case need arose.
“Further tests were done in Guinea and the vaccine was proven safe for consumption, hence the Phase 3 trial in Guinea showed 100% efficacy,” he explained.
Based on the success of these outcomes Merck bought the license for this vaccine.
“Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, has invested to support Merck to take the vaccine through the last stages of testing. Now it’s all about getting ready to roll it out as a proper vaccine and be scaled up for mass consumption,” Dr. Oti remarked.
He added that late stage clinical trials will be done so that the vaccine can get licensed and be given the final approval by WHO which would signal that it is ready for use.
“Hopefully by 2017 the world will be able to access the vaccine,” remarked Dr. Oti.
Despite the ray of hope he said that developing the vaccine was not a walk in the park.
“There was a lot of pressure mainly because there was an outbreak which had already started killing people. Vaccines are not a cure, they only prevent disease and protect those not affected. For those who were infected and showing Ebola symptoms a vaccine would not help much. Vaccine development takes time and it is not something that can be rushed,” he said.
According to the Centre for Disease Control CDC countries mostly affected by the Ebola virus in 2014 were Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.