Ebola vaccine approved by WHO for first time ever

Ebola is now officially preventable and treatable. Today the World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified an Ebola vaccine for the first time in the history of the world. The Ervebo vaccine is now recommended by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) as a key tool in treating Ebola, as it's been officially shown to be effective in protecting humans from the Ebola Zaire virus.

The fight to eradicate ebola from our planet seems to be headed in the right direction, as Merck's ERVEBO Ebola vaccine was given "prequalified" status by the World Health Organization (WHO). This means that the vaccine officially meets WHO standards for quality, safety, and efficacy.

SIDENOTE: You may remember Merck from this strange moment in US history.

This also means that United Nations health organizations and groups like Gavi can now use Ervebo to prevent the spread of Ebola. Gavi is also known as The Vaccine Alliance. "This is a vaccine with huge potential," said CEO of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance Dr Seth Berkley. "It has already been used to protect more than 250,000 people in the DRC and could well make major Ebola outbreaks a thing of the past."

"That's why this is such an important milestone, paving the way for a Gavi-supported global Ebola vaccine stockpile," said Dr Berkley. "It's also important to credit the unprecedented global effort from African countries that helped generate the evidence as well as Merck, WHO, donor governments, partners and regulatory agencies in making this authorization happen."

According to Gavi, Ervebo's already been in use in fighting the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). There, under "compassionate use" protocol, "more than 250,000 people have been vaccinated in DRC, as well as Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan, and Rwanda." Per Gavi, they've worked with the manufacturer of Ervebo (Merck) since before their January 2016 Advance Purchase Commitment, at which point a "stockpile of investigational doses" was created.

Since then, "through a donation from the manufacturer to WHO", part of said emergency stockpile of 300k (three hundred thousand) investigational doses) has been in use in DRC and neighboring countries to end Ebola as fast as possible.

"This is a historic step towards ensuring the people who most need an Ebola vaccine are able to access this life-saving tool," said Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "With a prequalified vaccine and experimental therapeutics, Ebola is now preventable and treatable."