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Minister says Russian vaccine for Ebola virus passes successful tests

“We’ll use it wherever our assistance is needed,” Russian Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova said

MOSCOW, September 04 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian vaccine for the Ebola virus disease (EVD) has passed successful pre-clinical testing and it is available for use, Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova told Itar-Tass on Thursday after a roundtable conference hosted by the All-Russia People’s Front.

“We’ve gotten a vaccine that has passed a very successful pre-clinical testing and now we’re awaiting certification by the World Health Organization but we’re ready to use the vaccine in principle,” Skvortsova said adding that the Russian vaccine could be used in the way as the Americans had already used their experimental vaccine.

“We’ll use it wherever our assistance is needed,” she said.

The Russian Health Ministry is monitoring the condition of students who have returned from Ebola-stricken countries, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said on Thursday.  She said all these students would be watched for 21 days and if any of them developed symptoms of the Ebola virus disease, they would be immediately isolated.

All passengers using direct and connection flights from West and Central Africa have their temperature taken remotely.

“We have worked out a very effective system of diagnostics similar to international ones,” the minister said.

Up to date, over 1,900 people have died from the Ebola virus disease and about 3,500 have been infected in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

Last week, WHO named six countries that are facing the risk of the EVD spread: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal. The organisation and its partners are now working with countries to ensure that full Ebola surveillance, preparedness and response plans are in place in these countries, it said.

To reduce the probability of the disease spreading elsewhere, the governments have set up quarantine zones in areas of high transmission including severely-affected cities in Guinea, Sierra Leone and in Liberia. This prevents people living in these areas from moving to other parts of the country and potentially increasing EVD transmission, WHO said.

The Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) was first reported in 1976 in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and got its name from the river near which the first outbreak occurred.

It is a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90% It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.

The United Nations has launched a system-wide coordination initiative to assist the effected West African countries in stopping the spread of the virus, which has left more than 1,400 people dead and is now affecting more than 1 million people throughout the region.

On August 8, WHO Director-General Chan declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO is hosting a consultation on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines in Geneva on September 4-5 in order to gather expertise about the most promising experimental therapies and vaccines and their role in containing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Participating in the consultation are more than 100 experts working in various fields, ranging from pharmaceutical research and the clinical demands of Ebola care, to expertise on ethical, legal, and regulatory issues.