DR Congo approves use of experimental Ebola vaccine

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"We have agreement, registration, plus import permit, everything formally agreed already", Tedros said. "We have to get ahead of the curve and make promising diagnostics, drugs and vaccines for diseases we know could be a threat in the future". "All is ready now to really use it".

DRC authorities on May 8 declared an outbreak of Ebola in the western border town of Bikoro. Health officials traveled there after Congo's Equateur provincial health ministry on May 3 alerted them to 17 deaths from a hemorrhagic fever.

The head of the World Health Organisation said Sunday there has been another reported case of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that an experimental vaccine to fight the disease is expected to become available in the country this week. "We already have three separate locations that are reporting cases", said the WHO's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, Peter Salama. About 4,000 doses will be sent to the remote north-western province of equator.

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"The vaccination campaign starts next week, everything depends on the logistics because the vaccine must be kept at minus 60 degrees Celsius, and we need to assure that the cold chain is assured from Geneva to Bikoro", she said.

Health workers dance as they try to cheer up an Ebola patient at Kenama treatment centre run by the Red cross Society on November 15, 2014 in Sierra Leon.

Ebola virus disease, or EVD, is a deadly disease that mostly affects people and non-human primates - such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees.

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"The proximity of the affected area to the Congo River, which links to the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, increases the risk of cases occurring in neighboring countries", the World Health Organization said in today's outbreak update.

Any other persons with potential exposure to Ebola, such as laboratory workers, surveillance and contact teams, will also be vaccinated. That outbreak was later traced back to a single case in Meliandou, Guinea in late December 2013, where an 18-month-old boy died two days after developing flu-like symptoms.

Unfortunately, there's now no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, although researchers are working on potential new vaccines an drug therapies that are being developed and tested. It was tested in Guinea in 2015.

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Although the DRC outbreak is of a different strain, the experimental vaccine is still thought to be safe and effective.

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