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AHF to WHO: Approve the Ebola Vaccine Now!

As an Ebola outbreak rages on in the Congo with the highest mortality
rate in history, AHF urges the World Health Organization (WHO) to
expedite approval of a proven vaccine and declare an international
emergency

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With a worsening Ebola crisis in the Congo and a recent report
reaffirming the efficacy of a widely-used vaccine, AIDS Healthcare
Foundation (AHF)
is urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to expedite the drug’s
approval to ensure it is quickly available to all who need it.

A recent vaccine
efficacy study
, published jointly by the National Institute of
Biomedical Research and WHO, analyzed data of those vaccinated between
May 1, 2018 and March 25, 2019. The study estimates that efficacy of the
Merck Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV-GP is at 97.5% and showed the ability to
reduce the overall mortality rate even among individuals who developed
the disease.

The outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been
raging since Aug. 1 of last year. As of April 15, there have been 1,273
total cases and 821 deaths—the worst fatality rate (62%) of any Ebola
outbreak in history. And despite the International Health Regulations
Emergency Committee’s “deep concern about the recent increase in
transmission in specific areas and the potential risk of spread to
neighbouring countries,” a Public Health Emergency of International
Concern (PHEIC) has not yet been declared.

Even though the current response has seen tremendous improvements
compared to the 2014 Ebola disaster in West Africa that killed over
11,000 people, the situation in the Congo is now the second-worst Ebola
outbreak in history—with no end in sight. Armed groups consistently
target medical workers and facilities, and DRC citizens’ distrust of
outsiders only serves to inhibit efforts. The outbreak also threatens
two nearby countries, as its epicenter lies near the borders of Uganda
and South Sudan.

“If there was ever a time to accelerate the licensing of a proven
vaccine and declare an emergency—this is it,” said Michael Weinstein,
AHF President. “Responders have been diligent in combatting this
outbreak, but more can and should be done. AHF calls on WHO to do
everything in its power to stamp out Ebola in the Congo, including
expediting the approval of the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine and pushing for the
declaration of a PHEIC. Anything short of those two things is simply not
enough.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1
million clients in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

US MEDIA CONTACTS:
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director,
Communications, AHF
+1 323 308 1833 work +1.323.791.5526 mobile
[email protected]

Denys Nazarov, Director of Global Policy & Communications, AHF
+1
323 219 1091
[email protected]

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