Merck’s Ebola Vaccine Helps Combat Deadly Outbreak in the Congo as the Virus Spreads

The latest outbreak has helped fast-track limited governmental approval for some experimental vaccines that didn’t exist just a few years ago

By Ashley Turner | CNBC |

AP
Ebola workers enter a house to decontaminate the body of a woman suspected of dying from Ebola, before the vehicle of the health ministry Ebola response team was attacked in Beni, northeastern Congo Monday, June 24, 2019. A driver working with the team is in critical condition after angry crowds hurled rocks at him and set the vehicle on fire, in the latest attack to strike efforts to combat the virus that has killed more than 1,500 people in eastern Congo since the outbreak began last August.

The Ebola virus is once again wreaking havoc in the war-torn North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, claiming an estimated 1,625 lives so far in its second-deadliest outbreak ever.

The ongoing outbreak follows the most devastating Ebola epidemic in history, which killed 11,310 and infected 28,616 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.

However, the latest outbreak, which has infected more than 2,400 people in the DRC since August, has helped fast-track limited governmental approval for some experimental vaccines that didn’t exist just a few years ago.

Often fatal

The disease first appeared in Africa in 1976. It’s transmitted from animals to humans and is highly contagious among the human population from there — through direct contact, contamination of objects or even contact with the dead. Ebola hemorrhagic fever, as it’s known, “is a rare but severe, often fatal illness in humans” that kills about half of all people who become infected with the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

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About Cholo Brooks 11079 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.