Uganda revealed on Thursday that it had received shipments of two new experimental vaccines to test against an Ebola strain that has killed scores of people in the country of East Africa.
Uganda has recorded 142 confirmed cases and 56 fatalities since authorities declared an Ebola outbreak on September 20; nevertheless, the epidemic’s growth has slowed recently, raising hopes that it may be nearing an end.
The so-called Sudan form of the virus, for which there is now no vaccination, is what has triggered the outbreak.
But in the upcoming weeks, Uganda will test three prospective vaccines: one from Oxford University and the Jenner Institute in Britain; another from the Sabin Vaccine Institute in the United States; and a third from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).
Uganda received its initial shipment of pills from the Sabin Vaccine Institute on December 8.
“On Saturday December 17, we received two more candidate vaccines from Merck/IAVI of 2,160 doses and 2,000 doses from Oxford University/Jenner Institute manufactured by the Serum Institute of India,” Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a press briefing on Thursday.
They will be employed in an experiment known as the “ring vaccine,” in which frontline and medical personnel will be vaccinated alongside all confirmed Ebola patients’ contacts and contacts of contacts.
The final verified case of the sickness was released from the hospital on November 30 according to Ugandan authorities, who said last month that new cases were declining.
International health specialists working in Uganda claim that the lack of recent live Ebola cases has slowed the vaccine trials.
Aceng added that Uganda would participate in an international expert consultation meeting on Ebola on January 12 but that the government had already started recruiting volunteers for the trials.
A two-month lockdown on two Ebola hotspots was lifted by the government last week, lifting restrictions like a dusk-to-dawn curfew, a prohibition on personal movement, and the closing of marketplaces, clubs, and churches.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that a disease outbreak ends when there are no additional cases for 42 days in a row, which is twice as long as Ebola’s incubation period.
Body fluids are how Ebola spreads. Fever, vomiting, bleeding, and diarrhea are typical symptoms. The difficulty of containing outbreaks increases in metropolitan settings.
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