It was developed by US firm Merck & Co and was tested in Democratic Republic of Congo begining the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014. A decision of regulators in the Unied States is expected in the first quarter of next year. The rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine, now called the Merck vaccine, has been shown to be effective in protecting people from the Ebola virus. “The conditional authorization of the world’s first Ebola vaccine is a triumph for public health, and a testimony to the unprecedented collaboration between scores of experts worldwide,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
WHO is working with Gavi, UNICEF and other partners to develop a Global Ebola Vaccines Security Plan. In the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 236,000 people have been vaccinated with rVSV ZEBOV GP donated by Merck to WHO. Licensing has not yet occurred, and licensed doses will only be available mid-2020. Merck said in a statement its priority now was to get regulatory approval of its Ervebo manufacturing site in Germany so that licensed supply of the vaccine ‘can be used to support global public health preparedness.’