With 21, 759 people infected and 8,668 of them killed by Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) finally announced last January 22, 2015 that West African Ebola vaccine trials will begin within few weeks from its official announcement.
Ebola virus disease is a fatal hemorrhagic disease in humans. The Ebola virus can be transmitted to people through wild animals and human to human transmission. The fatality of Ebola ranges between 25 to 90 percent based on the latest outbreaks. To effectively manage Ebola, strong community engagement is required through case management, contact tracing, and surveillance. In addition to this, WHO recommends having a system for an efficient and effective laboratory service, protocols in conducting safe burials, and encouraging people to actively participate in the management of Ebola. Currently, management is based on manifestations presented and there are no standard medications or vaccines. These 2 potential vaccines that will have its trial are the only ones undergoing evaluation.
According to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the clinical trial of two vaccines developed in Canada and the United States is a partnership between the government of Liberia and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Since potential outbreaks are expected, WHO believes that this clinical trial will provide a life-saving measure for the people that will be possibly infected. It can be recalled that Ebola caused a scare worldwide. It still is a public concern but vigilance on the part of WHO and other partners are maintained. Consequently, individual countries devised national plans to handle and manage entry of Ebola into their territories. On the other hand, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will work with the government of Sierra Leone to test the vaccines in the country itself.
One of the contributing factors to the worsening of Ebola outbreak was the subtle framework of affected countries’ health care system deliveries. In line with this, thousands of healthcare workers were infected and hundreds died. Although Ebola was first discovered in the 1970s, no one didn’t really see its return coming. Aside from clinical trials, a formal study of Zmapp for humans will be conducted. This drug were given to Ebola patients but didn’t undergo any formal testing on humans.
According to WHO, one of the control measure that greatly and significantly reduced the number of individuals affected by Ebola was following the recommended protocol on burying bodies. From hundreds of diagnosed cases per week, it went down to an average of 8-10. However, the decreased in this number might pose as a disadvantage to the impending start of West Ebola clinical trials as these will require much longer time for scientists and doctors to detect differences between patients who received and did not receive the vaccine. Reliability would be questioned for the inadequacy of the samples. Because of this, there is a possibility that patients from other affected countries like Sierra Leone would be included in the clinical trial of these two vaccines.