December 4, 2022

Amarachi Okeh

The World Health Organisation in collaboration with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and GAVI, the vaccine alliance, has announced plans to support the Ugandan government in its fight against Ebola by accelerating research for the vaccines.

In a joint statement issued by the organisations, they noted that though there are no licensed vaccines available yet for the treatment of the Ebola virus, they are committed to accelerating research during the outbreak to ensure access to investigational doses.

It has been reported that the Sudan strain of the Ebola virus currently ravaging the country has now spread to seven districts (Kasanda, Kyegegwa, Bunyangabu, and Kagadi districts beyond the original epicentre in Mubende district, and then to Kampala City and Wakiso).

In response to the widening of the spread, the government has activated the Incident Management System to control the outbreak.

On the 20th of September, the country announced a resurgence of the virus and by the 29th of October 2022, the Uganda Ministry of Health had reported 128 confirmed cases and 34 deaths.

To support the government’s fight, CEPI, Gavi, and WHO have outlined a plan to accelerate research, ensure access to investigational doses, and facilitate scaling up and access to any subsequently licensed vaccine.

The press release partly reads, “By embedding research at the heart of the outbreak response, we can achieve two goals: to evaluate potentially efficacious candidate vaccines, and to potentially contribute to ending this outbreak, and protect populations at risk in the future.

“The Ministry of Health has designated the Makerere University Lung Institute to conduct vaccine and therapeutics clinical trials.

“The clinical trial to evaluate candidate vaccines against this ebolavirus is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Health in Uganda and WHO and involves support from partners. A Principal investigator from Makerere University Lung Institute will lead the vaccine trial.

“WHO, CEPI and Gavi are providing support to ensure that sufficient doses of candidate vaccines are available for the trial and beyond. If sufficient doses can be made available, the vaccine trial would aim to establish how effective the candidate vaccines are in diverse populations.

“The vaccine developers and funders who will make the candidate vaccines available include the University of Oxford and the Serum Institute of India, the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the US government institutions Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and National Institutes of Health, as well as International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and MSD.”

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