From Agência Brasil with information from UN News
The World Health Organization (WHO) is celebrating the recent approval by European drug regulators of the first Ebola vaccine. It is “a triumph for public health and a testament to the unprecedented collaboration among dozens of experts around the world,” according to the United Nations agency.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has, for the first time, released a vaccine tested against Ebola in Guinea-Conakry (Africa), which has the largest epidemic in history caused by the virus. The EMA authorized product was initially developed under the brand name by US company Merck & Co.
More than 236,000 people have been vaccinated. The number includes more than 60,000 frontline health professionals in Congolese territory and in neighboring countries Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.
The new vaccine is already applied with WHO emergency guidelines to protect people against the spread of the Ebola virus, which since August last year has killed more than 2,100 people in Congolese territory.
According to WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, the product has “saved many lives in the current Ebola outbreak, and the European regulator’s decision will ultimately help save many more.”
The head of the UN agency said he was proud of the role WHO played in the vaccine development process, “from research support to testing” in Guinea-Conakry in 2015. The current ebola outbreak is the second largest in history, following the epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.
WHO has announced that it is working with the Global Vaccine Alliance and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in this area, anticipating that there will be greater demand for Ebola vaccines during and between outbreaks.
Global Security Plan
The goal is to create a Global Vaccine Safety Plan because “it will require greater supply capacity and several manufacturers in the short and medium term to meet this demand and ensure drug safety,” says the UN agency. .
There are currently eight Ebola vaccines in the clinical evaluation process. WHO works with partners to create an internationally coordinated government mechanism to ensure access to the product according to risk criteria.
WHO should also manage reserves “because supply will remain limited until greater manufacturing capacity is created or other vaccines are licensed.”