Health officials said on Thursday that a consignment of potential Ebola vaccines has arrived in Uganda, where an outbreak has killed at least 56 people and infected 142 people.
Uganda announced this week that its final Ebola patient had been released from the hospital, raising expectations for the end of the fatal haemorrhagic fever outbreak that was first reported on September 20. The vaccination candidates have arrived, according to Emmanuel Ainebyoona, a spokesman for the health ministry. He also noted that the health minister is anticipated to announce the trial start date later on Thursday.
The World Health Organization reports that although there are a number of candidate vaccines that would be eligible for testing, there are currently no licensed vaccinations for the Sudan strain of the virus that caused the infections in Uganda.
The University of Oxford and Serum Institute of India, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Merck & Co. Inc. have each submitted a vaccine candidate that the WHO has said it will send to Uganda for testing (MRK.N).
The more prevalent Zaire strain, which recently spread during outbreaks in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, is combated by existing vaccinations. Ebola spreads through contact with infected individuals’ bodily fluids and manifests as vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding from all body orifices. Prior to the arrival of the doses, health officials had stated that everything was ready for the trials to begin.