Uganda’s Ebola success squad revamps vaccine trials

Uganda on Thursday received two more potential vaccines for testing against the deadly Sudanese strain of Ebola virus.Uganda has recorded 142 confirmed cases and 55 deaths since the outbreak in September. However, there have been no new cases since late November. The lack of active cases is welcome, but it also means trials need to be revised to test vaccine efficacy.

The World Health Organization handed over 4,000 doses of the Ebola trial vaccine to Ugandan officials on Thursday. The 2,000 doses are from the Serum Institute of India’s Oxford He vaccine, and the 2,000 doses are from the US manufacturer Merck.

This brings the number of Ebola vaccine doses available in Uganda to more than 5,000 after the first 1,000 were received last week from the Sabin Vaccine Institute in the United States.

The vaccine has been sent for use in trials against an outbreak of the Sudanese strain of the virus that has killed 55 people since September.

However, Uganda has recorded no new Ebola cases since 27 November.

Uganda’s Health Minister Jane Ruth Asen said the success in halting the outbreak was welcomed, but it also meant that plans would need to be changed to test vaccines on people who had been in contact with infected people. rice field.

“We have no further cases or contacts,” she said. “Therefore, scientists are evaluating alternative study designs to assess the usefulness of these vaccines in protecting people from Ebola infection.”

Bruce Killenga, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Ebola vaccine trial, said his team is involved with the community, but it will take global experts January 12 to finalize and approve revisions to the trial. He said he had to wait for the meeting.

“The trial we are conducting is designed to answer three questions, abbreviated as ISE: immunogenicity, efficacy and safety,” he said. “Can these vaccines, when administered, induce immunity in people? Are they safe? Can that immunity prevent disease?”

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, WHO Country Representative for Uganda, said Uganda’s success in containing the outbreak means it has acquired the capacity, knowledge and skills to conduct vaccine trials for the Ebola strain of Sudan.

He said the trial is still worth doing, even if Uganda has not registered another Ebola infection.

“Uganda will contribute from this trial, which is another tool for managing Sudan if Ebola occurs in a large population,” he said.

Excluding confirmed cases and deaths, the country has recorded 87 hospital discharges since Uganda announced an Ebola outbreak 100 days ago.

There have been no new cases since November, but Uganda will have to wait until January 10 to declare itself Ebola-free.

There is currently no effective vaccine for the Sudan strain of Ebola.

The WHO says the last Ebola outbreak in Uganda in 2019 was caused by the more common Zaire strain.

Uganda last reported an outbreak of the relatively rare Sudanese strain in 2012. Uganda’s Ebola success squad revamps vaccine trials

Exit mobile version