More Ebola vaccine doses available soon
Dakar, Senegal — Thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines should be available in the coming months and could eventually be given to health care workers and other people at high risk of the deadly disease, the World Health Organization said Friday.
Public health experts are exploring experimental therapies and unconventional means of stopping the Ebola outbreak sweeping West Africa because it is picking up steam and has defied the typical methods used to stem Ebola’s spread.
The number of deaths linked to the disease has now passed 3,000, according to a WHO toll published Friday. In just two days, more than 150 people died in Liberia, the hardest-hit country. And WHO has warned that even those high tolls might be an underestimate as patients fear going to hospitals or are turned away from overcrowded facilities.
No vaccine has yet been proved to be safe or effective in humans, said Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general at WHO, who spoke at a news conference in Geneva that was later shared by email. Testing must first be done to ensure they are not harmful to people, some of which has already begun, she said.
The Canadian government has already donated 800 vials of one vaccine, which it developed before licensing to NewLink Genetics Corp. Kieny said the company is expected to produce several thousand more doses in the coming months. It’s unclear how many doses the 800 vials hold because testing needs to be done to determine how large an effective dose is.