CDC Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions

Ebola Vaccine Candidate v920 Reported 90% Efficacious in the DRC

Merck’s rVSV-ZEBOV is a recombinant, replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus-based candidate vaccine
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Africa (Vax Before Travel)

There is some good news from the World Health Organization related to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

The WHO is now predicting there are adequate supplies of Merck’s experimental Ebola vaccine v920 to control the ongoing outbreak.   

Merck says it will ship approximately 120,000 more doses of the v920 vaccine to the DRC Congo during February 2019. The DRC's health ministry says more than 63,000 people have already received the v920 vaccine since August 2018.   

Associate Vice President Lydia Ogden told the World Economic Forum that the company is committed to having a ready stockpile of 300,000 doses.   

This is great news since there have been 433 Ebola-related deaths, reported the WHO on January 20, 2019.   

V920 (rVSV-ZEBOV) is a recombinant, replication competent vesicular stomatitis virus-based candidate vaccine expressing a surface glycoprotein of Zaire Ebolavirus. 

V920 was previously tested in preventing Ebola virus disease in contacts and contacts of contacts in Guinea, West Africa, during 2014. 

The Guinea ring vaccination trial was a cluster-randomized controlled trial designed to assess the effect of 1 dose of the candidate vaccine in protecting against laboratory-confirmed Ebola virus disease, in the Basse-Guinée region of Guinea.   

“I believe we will have enough vaccine to stop this outbreak unless something very dramatic changes,” Dr. Peter Salama, WHO’s deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, told STAT.  

While the ongoing clinical trial of the v920 vaccine candidate is not finished, the preliminary analyses suggest it is working well for this version of the Ebola virus. 

Dr. Salama to STAT that vaccine efficacy rate of v920 is ‘well above 90 percent.’ 

A study published during 2018 support’s Dr. Salama’s opinion. 

This study said ‘In vitro and in vivo data gathered during this study support minimal risk of the vector-borne potential of the V920 vaccine.’ 

WHO advises against any restriction of travel to, and trade with, the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the currently available information. 

But, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department have a different perspective. 

On December 15th, 2018, the State Department issued a new Level 3 Travel Advisory, Reconsider Travel, for the DRC due to crime and civil unrest.

And, on January 17, 2019, the CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Alert, Practice Enhanced Precautions, for Americans visiting the DRC.   

Additionally, the CDC previously issued a Polio and Measles Travel Alerts. 

Since the CDC recommends various vaccinations prior to visiting the DRC, the CDC says if you plan to visit the DRC, you should check the vaccines and medicines needed 4-6 weeks before your trip. 

To schedule a travel vaccination counseling session with a local pharmacy, please visit Vax-Before-Travel.

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Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.