The West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been hardest-hit by the worst-ever Ebola outbreak which has killed more than 11,300 people since December 2013. So far no approved vaccine or treatment for Ebola exists and the World Health Organization (WHO) has authorized the fast-track development of drugs. Russia's health minister has revealed that an Ebola vaccine developed by the country over the last 15 months had shown encouraging results and would undergo further testing in West Africa.
"Phases one and two of testing were managed in Russia with volunteers and showed that the vaccine was very effective. The vaccine GamEvac-Combi, developed at a government vaccine research institute, would now be put to additional tests in Guinea," health minister Veronika Skovortsova told reporters in Geneva.
The Russian minister made the comments ahead of a meeting Tuesday, February 17, 2016, with the UN's WHO chief Margaret Chan. The WHO is hoping to study the Russian findings before giving an opinion on the new vaccine.
According to the Russian official, the preliminary testing showed limited side effects in isolated cases, including headaches and slight body temperature rises. Russian officials at the briefing who led the testing said, "The sequential injections led to surge in antibody production among the trial subjects."