The World Health Organization has reviewed that the three candidate vaccines recently evaluated by its committee of external experts will be deployed to Uganda for a clinical trial against the Sudan ebolavirus in the country.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti disclosed this at a press conference on Thursday, 17th November 2022.

She said as part of the effort to support Uganda’s Ebola outbreak, the first doses of the candidate vaccines against the Sudan ebolavirus will be arriving in Uganda in the coming days, to boost the government-led response, particularly on nine affected districts, as well as the three complex urban environments.

According to her, the trial is a result of a collaborative effort, coordinated by WHO with developers, academic institutions, countries’ sponsoring the production of the vaccine doses, regulatory authorities, other experts, and the government of Uganda.

Additionally, the randomized trial aims to evaluate potentially efficacious candidate vaccines and to possibly contribute to ending the ongoing outbreak and protecting populations at risk in the future.

“The start of vaccine trials will mark a pivotal moment towards the development of an effective tool against the virus behind the current Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

“In previous outbreaks, we have seen how effective vaccines have averted the further spread of the virus, helping to quickly contain the epidemic. But it will take time to get trial results and for now, the outbreak can be controlled without vaccines as we can see already with the slowing down of transmission in many of the affected districts.

“The confirmation of Ebola cases in a new district is a concern and places a further strain on the control efforts. With their highly mobile residents and often crowded environments, cities favor the spread of the virus, but Uganda has progressively ramped up the response, keeping pace with the evolving situation. WHO and its partners are helping to trace, find, test, and care for people with the virus and work with communities.

“But with the virus constantly on the move, we must press even harder to stay ahead.

“In support of the outbreak response WHO has deployed 80 experts and supported health authorities with the deployment of additional 150 experts, including over 60 epidemiologists. Due to the infectious nature of the Sudan ebolavirus, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which includes gowns, gloves, eye protection, and medical masks is critical for the provision of safe care to patients.

“Dedicated response teams are putting incredible efforts on the frontlines to safeguard communities and require robust support to effectively deliver on this crucial task. We must not fail them.

“Ebola’s disruptive force is most stark among communities whose lives have been upended and among families who have lost loved ones.”

Uganda declared an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus on 20 September. As of 14 November 2022, there have been 141 confirmed and 22 probable cases (a total of 163 cases) and 55 confirmed and 22 probable deaths (77 total deaths) reported. Nineteen health workers have been infected with the virus and seven have died, although, the outbreak is slowing down in six districts, with two dropping from the follow-up list as they have reported no cases in over 42 days.


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