Russia Created Vaccine For Ebola Virus Treatment: Vladimir Putin, Drawing Cynicism From Experts

By Staff Writer

Jan 17, 2016 10:14 PM EST

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has made an announcement that his country has found a vaccine to treat Ebola, a virus that caused death to 11,000 people in West Africa. However, the president does not give how it has been tested or how it works.

Putin said, as stated in Yahoo News, that the vaccine had been registered after the tests result proved its high efficiency in fighting Ebola. Moreover, it was claimed to be more effective compared to the other vaccines in the world.

The World Health Organization has encouraged Ebola's vaccine or drugs to be developed urgently since there has not been any treatment approved to cure Ebola. The urge to find the right vaccine for Ebola emerged as the disease killed at least 11,000 people in West Africa in 2 years.

There have been some bright nominees for the potential vaccines. Unfortunately, they have not gone through tests. In order to verify the effectiveness, the standard procedure for the test is to be conducted in clean populations that are not infected by the virus.

As mentioned in the RT, Putin said, "We have registered a medicine for the Ebola fever, which after the relevant tests, has proven to have a high effectiveness, higher than those drugs which until now have been used in the world."

Verokina Skvortsova, the Russian Health Minister, stated that there were two vaccines registered last December, which were developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

It was said that the vaccine exceeded the other similar vaccines in terms of efficacy. One of the vaccines was made for people who had immunodeficiency problem.   

Putin's statement somehow draws attentions, especially from the scientists who have long studied the matter. Stated in the ABCNews, an expert who has been involved in developing vaccine for Ebola, Ira Longini, shared her doubts. The professor of infectious diseases at Florida University's Emerging Pathogens Institute mentioned that it was still in a premature stage, so it was too early to conclude its efficiency.

She said, "This is a preliminary stage 1 study. Which is fine -- it shows their product should go forward. It shows some promise. But you can't say anything about efficacy at this point." She considered that Putin's statement was "kind of mind-boggling."

Longini joined a clinical trial for a vaccine made by Merck Company under the World Health Organization and in partnership with several international charities to 4,000 people in Guinea last year during the Ebola crisis. The result showed a very rate of success. This vaccine has smoothly run through the 3rd phase in the trial.

"Without the Phase 3 efficacy trial, you can't really make any statements about the efficacy of a vaccine. The best they could say is it's just promising," Longini said.

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