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DRC Approves Use Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine; Epidemiologists Search For Origins Of Strain Causing Current Outbreak

Quartz: DR Congo is tackling a new Ebola outbreak with an experimental vaccine
“…On May 12, the World Health Organization declared an Ebola outbreak in DR Congo after it confirmed three deaths. At the time, the United Nations health agency said there was no cause for panic. Now, with as many as 52 suspected cases, DR Congo’s health ministry is stepping up its response and has approved the use of a new experimental vaccine to stop the outbreak…” (Kazeem, 5/29).

Reuters: Congo approves use of Ebola vaccination to fight outbreak
“…The vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV and developed by Merck, is not yet licensed but was shown to be highly protective against Ebola in clinical trials published last December. … WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in Geneva that vaccination would be deployed ‘should an EVD (Ebola virus disease) laboratory confirmed case be identified outside already defined chains of transmission’…” (Ross/Nebehay, 5/29).

ScienceInsider: Could pigs be involved in Congo’s new Ebola outbreak?
“…[S]cientists and public health officials are investigating whether pigs are somehow involved in the Ebola outbreak now underway in a remote region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). If so, it would add a new — but not totally unexpected — chapter to the virus’s turbulent history…” (Kupferschmidt/Cohen, 5/26).

VOA News: Genetic Testing Underway on Virus Behind New Ebola Outbreak
“Tests are underway to determine the genetic sequence of the Ebola virus behind an outbreak in central Africa, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control researcher said Friday. Dr. Barbara Knust, an epidemiologist, told VOA’s Horn of Africa service that scientists are looking for ‘clues’ about where this strain of Ebola originated and how to treat it…” (Halake, 5/26).