Merck Delivers Over 800 Ebola Vaccine Courses In Nzérékoré, Guinea; Now We Await (Another) All Clear

Late last week, a flare up was reported in rural Guinea — just as hopes for an all clear in Africa were being reached.

Within a few elapsed hours, Merck had delivered over 800 doses of its experimental (acquired from NewLink Genetics in Iowa, which in turn had built the program upon Canadian Health Ministry R&D work) Ebola vaccine. It is expected that by late May, Guinea will have officially ended this latest flare up. Good news, but given the biology involved, we should not be surprised to see a couple more flare ups, in West Africa, in 2016. Here’s a bit — from the WHO release, of March 31:

. . .WHO’s office in Guinea says more than 1,000 contacts have been identified and placed under medical observation. Nearly 800 have been vaccinated over the past week, including 182 who are considered to be high-risk contacts.

The VSV-EBOV vaccine currently being administered was found to be highly effective in preventing Ebola infection in a large trial conducted by Guinea’s Ministry of Health, WHO and partner agencies last year. It has since been used in Sierra Leone to contain a recent flare-up there, and now, once again, in Guinea.

fb3a3-mrk-ebola-west-africa-lift-2016The “ring vaccination” strategy involves vaccinating anyone who has come into contact with a person infected with Ebola, as well as contacts of theirs.

In this latest flare-up, there have been 8 cases of Ebola and 7 deaths since late February. The most recent case, an 11-year old girl, is being treated at an Ebola care facility in Nzérékoré and as of today, is reported to be in a stable condition. Six of the deceased are from three generations of the same extended family in the village of Koropara Centre. . . .

So, keep a good thought — for our brothers and sisters there. Onward, on a glorious Spring Sunday. . . Biking, ahead. . . .

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