Article by
Dani Reiter
Updated
August 27th, 2019

Ebola Vaccine Receives $23 Million Additional Funding

Merck v920 Ebola Zaire vaccine candidate has demonstrated significant effectiveness in Africa

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it will support the manufacturing of the Ebola vaccine from Merck & Co. Inc., known as V920 (rVSV-ZEBOV). 

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of ASPR, said in a press release on August 21, 2019, it will 'provide $23 million dollars to Merck to produce the v920 Ebola vaccine the next year.'

As of August 16, 2019, more than 192,000 people have been vaccinated with the V920 vaccine through compassionate use authority.

Furthermore, the v920 investigational vaccine has shown significant effectiveness in protecting people against the Ebola Zaire virus.

The Ebola virus disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease which can cause internal and external bleeding in some patients.

BARDA will continue working with Merck on advanced development of the V920 vaccine towards obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure.

With the new funding, BARDA will have provided approximately $176 million to support the development of the investigational Ebola vaccine.

“The best way to protect people at home from Ebola is to stop the virus from spreading abroad, and an effective vaccine is an essential tool in that effort,” said BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D.

Through an expanded access protocol, the investigational vaccine is available for people at risk of contracting Ebola in the ongoing Africa outbreak.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘the Ebola Zaire virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continued this past week, with similar disease transmission intensity.’

This WHO statement published online August 8, 2019, said ‘an average of 86 new Ebola cases per week over the past 6 weeks, has been confirmed in the DRC.

Since this DRC Ebola outbreak began during August 2018, a total of 2,781 cases, including 1,866 fatalities, have been reported as of August 6, 2019.

Ebola News

The other Ebola vaccine currently in use in Africa is Janssen’s Ad26.ZEBOV vaccine, which is designed to provide active specific acquired immunity to the Ebola virus.  The vaccine is based on adenovirus type 26 (Ad26) vector expressing the glycoprotein of the Ebola virus Mayinga variant.

In addition to working with Merck and other companies on Ebola vaccine development, BARDA continues to collaborate with federal and private sector partners to develop tests and therapeutic drugs to diagnose and treat Ebola disease.

HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. 

The mission of the ASPR is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st-century health security threats. Within ASPR, BARDA invests in the advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products needed to combat health security threats. 

Click here for more information about ASPR and BARDA.