Report: commitment to Ebola vaccine development must continue

Credit: Espen Rasmussen/Panos
Health workers at an Ebola treatment facility in Freetown, Sierra Leone. International experts say there are still critical gaps in preparedness for the next outbreak.

LONDON, 20-Jan-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — A panel of international experts has called for continued commitment to Ebola vaccine development to fully prepare for the next outbreak.

The Ebola vaccine developed during the West African epidemic is the first to be shown to be shown to be safe and effective against the disease. But the third report from Wellcome and the University of Minnesota’s CIDRAP Ebola Team B stresses that there are still critical gaps in preparedness for the next inevitable outbreak.

Safe, effective and durable multivalent Ebola vaccines are critical for preventing outbreaks and quickly halting future outbreaks when they occur.

They are also necessary to prove that vaccines against other neglected or emerging infectious diseases can be successfully developed.

“The success of future efforts will depend on our continued action with the Ebola vaccine,” says Wellcome’s Director Jeremy Farrar, who co-chaired the report. “We must maintain the sense of urgency that has pushed this work forward in previous years.”

Today’s report identifies three main areas where work is still needed if Ebola is to no longer be a public health threat:

  • tracking progress to ensure multivalent Ebola vaccines are readily available and can be rapidly deployed
  • identifying where additional effort is needed to overcome challenges and barriers
  • creating high-level recommendations for a robust Ebola virus disease prevention programme that includes prophylactive vaccination of frontline workers and provides vaccine stockpiles.

The group also recommends creating an international consortium to champion Ebola vaccines.

The final results from the trials of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine were published in December 2016 and confirm that it provides a high level of protection against the disease.

The vaccine, made by Merck, Sharpe & Dohme, was developed rapidly during the epidemic but came too late to have a significant impact on the outbreak.

You can read the report on the CIDRAP website.

SOURCE: Wellcome

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