Ebola: clinical trials of vaccines could start soon in Uganda

Ebola: clinical trials of vaccines could start soon in Uganda

UPDATE DAY

Clinical trials of Ebola vaccines could begin “in the next few weeks” in Uganda, where the virus is still rampant, World Health Organization (WHO) Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday .  

Ugandan Health Minister Jane Ruth Acenga told AFP on Wednesday that a fatal case had been recorded in Kampala, with one infected person who left the central district of Mubende where the outbreak was first reported, and who later died in hospital in the Ugandan capital.

“Several vaccines against this virus are in different stages of development, two of them could be used for clinical trials in Uganda in the coming weeks, depending on regulatory and ethical clearances from the Ugandan government,” the chief said on Wednesday. of the WHO during an emergency ministerial meeting against the epidemic. 

The human toll rises to “more than 19” dead in Uganda, which last month recorded its first death caused by Ebola, a highly contagious virus, since 2019. Health professionals are among the victims.

“Unfortunately, the Ebola vaccines that have been so effective in controlling recent Ebola outbreaks in DR Congo are not effective against the type of Ebola virus that is responsible for the current outbreak in Uganda,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. . In question: a strain from Sudan.

The director of the WHO, who participated in this meeting from Geneva, counted 54 proven cases and 20 probable, to which must be added 660 contact cases under ” active tracking”.

The first case was reported on September 20 in the central district of Mubende. Several infections were subsequently recorded in four other regions. 

“Our main objective now is to help the government of Uganda to quickly control and contain this epidemic, to stop its spread to the districts and to neighboring countries,” Dr. Tedros told reporters.

The risk of intercountry transmission is “high due to movement between Uganda and other countries,” WHO said.  

Uganda, an East African country, has experienced several Ebola outbreaks, including the last one in 2019 that killed at least five people. Often fatal, this virus causing haemorrhagic fevers was discovered in 1976 and is particularly prevalent in the west of the continent.

The worst epidemic in this area, between 2013 and 2016, killed more than 11,300 people . 

Last week, the United States decreed stricter screening of travelers from Uganda.