World Health Organization gets Congo's go-ahead to launch Ebola vaccination experiment

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The head of the World Health Organization said on Sunday there had been another reported case of Ebola in the DRC and that an experimental vaccine to fight the disease was expected to become available in the country this week.

This is the DRC's ninth EVD outbreak since the virus was discovered in the country in 1976.

Meanwhile, WHO has been given the go-ahead by officials in the DRC to import and use an experimental Ebola vaccine in the country, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The resolutions were made following the adoption of a motion moved by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos-Central) at the plenary on Tuesday. Only two cases have been confirmed by lab tests.

Tinubu, who doubles as Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, said the tide, as at then, was stemmed by quick response of the government.

"The Senate is saddened that in spite of quick measures taken, the epidemic claimed eight lives including those of medical personnel who put their lives at risk to contain the disease".

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"The Senate is disturbed that recent reports by media outlets and the World Health Organisation show that the disease is back in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo with 19 dead and 39 infected recorded so far". The DRC, 445 kilometres by air from Abuja, is easily accessible via a flight from Lagos that takes less than three hours.

The WHO has a stockpile of 4,300 doses of the vaccine in Geneva; the company also has 300,000 doses of the vaccine stockpiled in the United States.

The lawmaker said that unless hospitals were prepared properly and equipped with Ebola vaccines, it would be an epidemic Nigeria might be unable to take on.

Bikoro Health Zone reported the highest number of cases (n=31), followed by Iboko (n=8) and Mbandaka (n=2) Health Zones.

A total of 250,000 USA dollars has been set aside for outbreak response activities by the Africa CDC, and member countries have been pledging support by contributing health workers.