Gavi stands ready to support the DR Congo in its fight against Ebola

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Gavi statement of support follows official confirmation of Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Ebola

In Liberia, last year's introduction of non-body contact infra-red thermometers helped to identify cases of Ebola more rapidly. Credit: Gavi/2016/Tombleson.

Geneva, 12 May 2017 – Following confirmation by the DRC Ministry of Public Health of an Ebola outbreak in the country, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance stands ready to support the Government’s efforts to bring the epidemic under control. 

“It is a sad fact that the people of the DRC are all too familiar with this horrific disease,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The fact that this is a country that has experience dealing with Ebola should give us hope that we won’t see a pandemic on the scale of the 2014 outbreak that hit West Africa. We stand ready to support the DRC Government in its fight against Ebola.”

An agreement between Gavi and Merck, the developer of the Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV, ensures that the vaccine is available in case of an outbreak. The WHO and others will determine if and when deployment of vaccine into this outbreak is warranted.

“Gavi’s work with Merck means there are 300,000 doses of Ebola vaccine available if needed to stop this outbreak becoming a pandemic,” Dr Seth Berkley confirmed. “The vaccine has shown high efficacy in clinical trials and could play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable.”

In January 2016, Gavi announced an Advance Purchase Commitment with Merck, committing US$ 5 million towards the eventual procurement of a vaccine once it is licensed, prequalified and WHO-recommended. As part of this commitment Merck agreed to create and store a stockpile of 300,000 doses in case of an outbreak while full licensure was secured. The DRC outbreak has been identified as the Zaire strain of Ebola, which is targeted by rVSV-ZEBOV.

 

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