OTTAWA: Canada will donate 800 to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) against the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The WHO will help to facilitate distribution of the vaccine, said Canadian Minister of Health Rona Ambrose Tuesday.
“Today on a call with Dr. Chan, Director General of the WHO, I was pleased to offer the experimental vaccine developed by Canadian researchers as a global resource to help fight this outbreak,” said the minister.
The doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to WHO are developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The vaccine, VSV-EBOV, has never been tested in humans, but has shown promise in animal research.
Leading scientists at the agency’s National Microbiology Laboratory developed the vaccine and the Government of Canada owns the intellectual property associated with the vaccine. The Government of Canada licensed the rights to BioProtection Systems to further develop the product for use in humans.
The final number of doses provided to WHO will be based on the amount required for applied research and clinical trials. Canada will also keep a small supply of the experimental vaccine in the unlikely event it is needed for compassionate use in Canada.
The Ebola outbreak in Africa is the largest on record and comprehensive efforts are required to prevent and control the spread of the virus. While the experimental vaccine is promising, it doesn’t replace the need for rapid diagnosis, good infection control practices and tight coordination among partners involved in the response, said minister.
It is reported that Canadian scientists have set up mobile laboratories at two sites in the affected regions to provide rapid diagnostic support. A new team will be deployed on Thursday to relieve the scientists currently in the field. PNA