WHO: 1 Million Ebola vaccines by the End of 2015
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that there would be around 200,000 Ebola vaccine doses available during the first half of next year. By the end of 2015, the number of doses could reach one million. The United Nations health agency added that the vaccines could be administered to health care workers stationed in West Africa as early as December.
Even though a vaccine is in the works, the WHO cautioned that the vaccine does not guarantee an end for the outbreak that has been going on since March.
"The vaccine is not the magic bullet. But when ready, they may be a good part of the effort to turn the tide of this epidemic," Dr. Marie Paule Kieny, a WHO assistant director-general, said, according to the San Francisco Gate.
Due to the severity of the Ebola epidemic, which is the largest one yet in the history of the disease, drug manufacturers have been working extremely fast to produce a viable vaccine. Vaccines typically take years to create and test.
Currently, there are two experimental vaccines in safety trials and their results are expected to be available as early as December. If the vaccines prove to be safe ad effective, the trials would move the Ebola-stricken West African nations, which are Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. These vaccines are manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
"While we hope that the massive response, which has been put in place will have an impact on the epidemic, it is still prudent to prepare to have as much vaccine available as possible if they are proven effective. If the massive effort in response is not sufficient, then vaccine would be a very important tool," Dr. Kieny said according to BBC News. "And even if the epidemic would be already receding by the time we have vaccine available, the modeling seems to say vaccine may still have an impact on controlling the epidemic."
There are also five other vaccines that start trials next year.
The WHO added that mass vaccinations have not been planned before June 2015.