Canada is donating its own Ebola vaccines to the WHO for use in Africa
Canada Health Minister, Rona Ambrose, has announced that the country will be donating up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in West Africa in order to help fight the deadly disease. This announcement comes shortly after the WHO announced that a panel of experts advised that it would be ethical to use untested drugs and vaccines.
Doctor Gregory Taylor, the deputy head of the Public Health Agency of Canada, was quoted saying, “We see this as a global resource and we need to have some conversations to figure out what the best use of this experimental vaccine is”. He also said that the agency would be discussing options with international partners, including the WHO, over the next few days in order to plan how best to utilize the limited number of vaccine doses.
In a statement yesterday, Ambrose said, “I was pleased to offer the experimental vaccine developed by Canadian researchers as a global resource to help fight this outbreak”. She added that “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”.
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest and deadliest since the virus was discovered almost 40 years ago. Over 1,000 people have died already, the vast majority of which have been in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Canadian vaccine has already proven effective in animals, but hasn’t had any human trials yet.
“You really don’t know how safe it is, you don’t know what the side effects are going to be. But in this extraordinary circumstance in Africa right now, we’re trying to do everything we can to assist,” said Doctor Taylor. He added that the first doses in West Africa will probably be offered to healthcare workers who are helping fight the outbreak.
Read more about the story at Reuters.