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Ebola Vaccine Will Now Be Available As Gavi Signed $5 Million Deal To Prevent Future Outbreaks, Commits Merck To Keep 300,000 Vaccines Ready

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January 25
4:00 AM 2016

As for the prevention against the Ebola epidemic in the future, a $5 million deal on Ebola vaccine has been signed by Gavi.

In regards to the deal, Merck, the pharmaceutical company producing the vaccine, has to keep 300,000 vaccines prepared for any emergency situation or to be used for other medical trials. The vaccine is planned to be registered for license by the end of 2017, according to BBC. This action is expected to ease Gavi organizing the Ebola vaccine stockpile for global use.

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst in the history. The disease has caused 11,000 deaths, forcing for a faster work on getting vaccines from a decade study into not more han a year.

The vaccine from Merck, called VSV-EBOV, has been gone through tests, and the results obtained from the West Africa studies show that the vaccine may provide 100% protection. However, it is still in the process of collecting more data.

The VSV-EBOV vaccine combines a part from the Ebola virus with a different kind of virus, which is safer, to train the body immunity to fight against Ebola.

Gavi is an alliance, which is committed to save lives through vaccination. The chief executive of Gavi, Dr Seth Berkley said, "The suffering caused by the Ebola crisis was a wake-up call to many in the global health community. New threats require smart solutions, and our innovative financing agreement with Merck will ensure that we are ahead of the curve for future Ebola outbreaks."

The deal will also assist Merck to obtain license and go through prequalification from the World Health Organization. As mentioned in Ocean Side Post, Merck has proposed an application through the procedure from the WHO's Emergency Use Assessment and Listing (EUAL). If there is an approval, the vaccine is allowed to be used before it is licensed with the authority from the World Health Organization in crisis circumstances.        

A public-health scientist at the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy in Minneapolis, Michael Osterholm said, "We are in the most tenuous situation with regard to Ebola vaccines that we've seen since we started all of this."

According to Nature, public-health scientists are worried with the outbreak in West Africa, "there is danger that the work of stockpiling, licensing and planning to administer Ebola vaccines will be set aside in favour of more pressing - and profitable - pursuits."    

In the past year, Merck, Johnson&Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline have produced 2 million doses of candidate vaccines. These vaccines have been given to more than 20,000 people and thousands more shortly. The supply is said to be sufficient to protect people from the future Ebola epidemic.  

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