2015 Brought Progress in Fight Against Ebola, HIV, Polio

2015 was a remarkable year in medicine: A vaccine against Ebola proved amazingly successful, the number of deaths and new infections from HIV dropped drastically, and an eradication campaign against polio could mean no child in Africa will ever get the disease again.

Experts initially thought the Ebola outbreak would end well before 2015. Instead, it claimed 3,000 lives before it began to wane. Potential vaccines were fast-tracked and clinical trials began in West Africa early in the year. Then in July, good news came about a vaccine trial in Guinea. 

"Based on the number of individuals and the number of cases that we have seen, there is 100 percent protection in those vaccinated," Dr. John-Arne Røttingen told VOA. Røttingen directs the division of infectious diseases at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and headed the study steering group. 

It was truly an international effort — a collaboration between the government of Guinea, the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The vaccine was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck, which made the investigational vaccine. The U.S. and Canada, among others, provided the funding.  


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