Government of Uganda backs new vaccine trial
In August 2015 Dr Sakoba Keita, who led the Ebola response in Guinea during the largest Ebola outbreak the world has ever seen, declared: the Ebola vaccine is a gift from Guinea to West Africa and the world.
This was just after the preliminary results of the “Ebola ça suffit” trial that proved the safety and efficacy of the rVSV ZEBOV vaccine produced by Merck and currently being used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This vaccine isn’t licensed but is being currently used on a compassionate basis in the DRC to protect those most at risk of infection. Back in 2015, some of us felt that his statement was possibly a bit too much considering that the vaccine was not licensed. In addition, we knew from experience the vaccine was only one part of the Ebola response pillar. Others included community engagement and surveillance. But since seeing first hand the challenges of implementing another vaccine trial in the same conditions in the DRC today, I appreciate better Keita’s words. I also have become hugely appreciative of the courage being shown by the Ugandan Ministry of Health in supporting the launch of this new trial.