In DepthInfectious Diseases

Vaccine trial launched to stop Ebola

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Science  18 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6390, pp. 694-695
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6390.694

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On 8 May, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced that a new Ebola outbreak was underway in a remote part of the country, and within 3 days, the government decided for the first time to use an experimental vaccine to help stop spread. The vaccine performed well in a large clinical trial held in Guinea in 2015, but it remains unlicensed and technically can only be used as part of a new study. The DRC hopes the vaccine will add to traditional containment efforts like quarantine for the infected and protective gear for medical teams and prevent the outbreak from exploding into a full-blown epidemic, as happened in West Africa in 2014. As Science went to press, the DRC had two confirmed and 39 probable and suspected cases in three different health districts. Most concerning, two of the probable cases are in Mbandaka, a city that has 1.2 million residents. In addition to helping the DRC launch the vaccine trial, the international community has responded in full force, quickly sending in teams of experts to help with surveillance, testing, and treatment for the infected.