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FDA approves Ebola vaccine

By | Rachel Brooks 

Contributor | Telegraph Local 

See the New African Living Standard 

Pictured above Electron Micrograph of Ebola virus 

The FDA has approved a first of its kind Ebola vaccination. This Ebola vaccine has been in the works for months and has been used in passion-treatment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Citing the Scientific American, a vaccine that is the first to be approved in the United States, the vaccine should protect US citizens from the outbreak that has ravaged DRC. 

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The announcement for the FDA approval was issued on Thursday. It was developed by Merck. The vaccine protects against the strain called the “Zaire Ebola virus”. Zaire is the former name of the DRC. The FDA approves the vaccination following suit to the European Commission. The European Commission licensed the vaccine on November 11, 2019. 

 

FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Dr. Peter Marks stated, “Ebola virus is a rare but severe and often deadly disease that knows no borders.” He also stated, “vaccination is essential to help prevent outbreaks and to stop the Ebola virus from spreading when outbreaks do occur.” 

Citing Bloomberg, the Ebola vaccine currently reports a potential 100% effectiveness. Merck was able to develop the vaccine after following Canadian research work. The vaccine is developed and made by Kenilworth, New Jersey-based Merck. This initial vaccine was tested at 100% effectiveness. It is 100% effective if administered 10 days prior to potential exposure to the Zaire ebola virus. 

 

It also remains unclear how long protection from the vaccine lasts at this point. Healthcare administers visiting the Congo should likely receive the shot directly before entering the country.

 

The drugmaker Johnson & Johnson has a second drug in development. The Merck drug took priority to the Johnson & Johnson drug. The ongoing outbreak in the DRC has reportedly killed 2,000 plus people. The exact numbers may not be known considering lapses in the local healthcare system, according to the WHO. 

 

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The FDA stated that the risk of Ebola outbreak in the United States remains low. However, the US is committed to helping the DRC squash its high rates of Ebola outbreak. Citing the CDC, other nations, where the Ebola outbreak has been detected, includes the following: Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Uganda, and South Africa. You can see the complete map of Ebola incidents in Sub-Saharan Africa via CDC.  

 

Outbreaks of Ebola reach back 40 years. Ebola is a hemorrhagic virus that affects humans and non-human primates, e.g. gorillas, chimpanzees, and other species of Sub-Saharan monkeys. There are several strains of the Ebola virus. They include the Zaire Ebola virus, Sudan virus, Tai Forest virus (or Cote d’Ivoire virus), Bundibugyo virus, Reston virus, and the Bombali virus.  This current Ebola vaccine only shields against the Zaire Ebola virus. Of these strains, Zaire, Sudan, Tai Forest, and Bundibugyo viruses impact people. Reston is the strain that primarily infects monkeys. The Bombali virus has only been detected in bats. It is unknown if bats can pass this to human and nonhuman primates. 

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