In Summary
  • MRC spokeswoman Pamela Nabukenya Wairagala said vaccinations had already begun.
  • The Congo outbreak is the first time that a vaccine has been used as a full-scale weapon against the virus.

Kampala,

Uganda said Monday it had started a trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine that may be used in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where an outbreak has killed more than 1,800 people.
The trial of the MVA-BN vaccine developed by Johnson&Johnson is expected to last two years, Uganda's Medical Research Council (MRC) said.

The vaccine will be administered to up to 800 health professionals and frontline workers such as cleaners, ambulance personnel and mortuary and burial teams, in the western district of Mbarara, the MRC said in a statement.

VACCINATIONS

MRC spokeswoman Pamela Nabukenya Wairagala said vaccinations had already begun.

The MRC said the trial would be led by Ugandan researchers and supported by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

At present there is no licenced drug to prevent or treat Ebola although a range of experimental drugs are in development.

The Congo outbreak is the first time that a vaccine has been used as a full-scale weapon against the virus.

Health authorities have been issuing the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, developed by US pharma group Merck -- a product that has yet to be licenced but has been shown to be safe and effective.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for its deployment to be expanded and has recommended the Johnson&Johnson vaccine also be rolled out in order to meet needs.
However, the latter move has been resisted.

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