The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ghana and Zambia have licensed an Ebola vaccine, just 90 days after World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification. Registration of the vaccine is expected in additional countries in the coming weeks.
The WHO accelerated the licensing and roll-out of the Ebola vaccine by certifying that it met the organisation’s standards for quality, safety and efficacy in its fastest vaccine prequalification process ever, announced in November 2019.
The speed with which this has been achieved has been made possible by a different approach, where national licensing procedures were done in parallel based on one single scientific review process. Usually, these process are done one by one, which can take years. The process was led by the WHO with the participation of the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, the European Medicines Agency, and the vaccine manufacturer.
Preliminary study results have shown a 97.5% vaccine efficacy of the Ervebo Ebola vaccine. Data also suggests that vaccinating people who are already infected reduces their chances of dying.
In response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the DRC, over 290,000 people have been vaccinated under compassionate use protocols. Once licensed doses are available, use of the vaccine in DRC will no longer require these protocols.