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DRC gives WHO approval to use untried Ebola vaccine

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has received a green light from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to import and use an experimental Ebola vaccine in the country, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, told newsmen on Monday, May 14, 2018.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Photo credit: AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI / Getty Images

“We have agreement, registration, plus import permit, everything formally agreed already,” Tedros said. “All is ready now to really use it,” he said, adding that the Congolese government deserved praise for its response to the outbreak.

Earlier, the WHO confirmed 19 deaths in DRC following an outbreak of Ebola between April 4 and May 13.

The WHO also confirmed 39 suspected cases.

It said 393 people who identified as contacts of Ebola patients were being followed up.

Information about the outbreak in Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata health zones in Equateur province was still limited, the WHO said in a statement.

At present the outbreak did not meet the criteria for declaring a “public health event of international
concern”, which would trigger the formation of an emergency WHO committee.

The WHO said it has obtained 4,000 doses of Ebola vaccine and is preparing for deployment in the DRC, its Africa
director said on Sunday.

“We’re working on the deployment of these materials, especially readying the cold chain,” WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti told Reuters by telephone.

“The start date of the vaccinations will depend on this deployment.”

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