The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announcement recommending a conditional marketing authorization for the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine, for active immunisation of individuals aged 18 years and older at risk of infection with the Ebola virus.
“The conditional authorisation of the world’s first Ebola vaccine is a triumph for public health, and a testimony to the unprecedented collaboration between scores of experts worldwide,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
In the past five years, the WHO has convened experts to review the evidence on various Ebola vaccine candidates, informed policy recommendations and mobilised a multilateral coalition to accelerate clinical evaluations. The EMA review was unique in that the WHO and African regulators actively participated through an innovative co-operative arrangement, which will help accelerate registration for countries most at risk.
A randomised trial for the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine began during the 2015 West Africa Ebola outbreak, using an innovative ring vaccination design. In the 1970s, this ring strategy helped to eradicate smallpox, but this was the first time an experimental vaccine was evaluated this way.
In the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 236,000 people have been vaccinated with rVSV-ZEBOV-GP, including more than 60,000 health and frontline workers.