One of the world’s biggest vaccine funders has agreed to give pharmaceuticals company Merck & Co. $5 million to get its experimental Ebola vaccine approved for market. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance announced at the World Economic Forum today that this deal will require Merck to submit its vaccine for regulatory approval by the end of 2017 and to have 300,000 vaccine doses available by May of this year for clinical testing and emergencies.
The allotment for emergency situations still requires special approval from the World Health Organization, which would allow an experimental vaccine to be used in the case of a public health emergency. Merck’s vaccine was found 100 percent effective when it was tested on more than 4,000 people who came in close contact with the virus in Guinea.
Merck must submit its vaccine for regulatory approval by the end of 2017
The WHO said this past week that no new Ebola cases had been reported in the three most affected West African countries during the preceding 42 days. However, Sierra Leone confirmed an Ebola-related death a day after that announcement, on January 15th. This most recent outbreak in Africa killed more than 11,300 people and infected more than 28,600.