The World Health Organisation has been given the go-ahead by officials in Democratic Republic of Congo to import and use an experimental Ebola vaccine, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“We have agreement, registration plus import permit, everything formally agreed,” Tedros told reporters. “All is ready now to really use it.”
Vaccinations could begin by Monday, he said.
The vaccine, developed by Merck in 2016, has proven safe and effective in human trials, but is still experimental as it does not yet have a licence. It must be kept at -60 to -80 degrees Celsius, creating logistic challenges.
The vaccine, tested in Guinea in 2015 at the end of an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, is designed for use in a so-called “ring vaccination” approach.