Canada to donate experimental Ebola vaccine to WHO
Posted on Aug 13 2014 | IANS
Toronto, Aug 13 : Canada has said it will donate to the World Health Organisation (WHO) up to 1,000 doses of an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus, to be used in the African countries most affected by the outbreak of the disease.
"I am pleased to offer the experimental vaccine developed by Canadian researchers as a global resource to help fight this outbreak," Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose said in a statement Tuesday.
Ambrose said Canada would donate between 800 and 1,000 doses of the vaccine, from a total of about 1,500 that it possessed.
The health minister added that the vaccine, known as VSV-EBOV, has so far not been tested on humans, although results have been promising during animal trials.
"Canada feels this experimental vaccine is a global resource, so in response we are sharing it with the international community, while keeping a small supply in Canada", Ambrose said.
The WHO Tuesday reported that the toll in Ebola virus disease in western Africa - Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria - had risen to 1,013, and approved the use of experimental drugs to fight the disease.
In a statement, the WHO's Ethics Committee said that in the light of the scale of the outbreak and the high number of deaths, it was ethical to use untested drugs against the virus, which causes haemorrhagic fever and has a 90 percent mortality rate.
The disease is transmitted by direct contact with infected blood or body fluids, and is considered a threat to world health.