An experimental Ebola vaccine from Johnson & Johnson will be deployed in mid-October to treat at-risk populations in regions that don’t have active Ebola transmission, according to the World Health Organization. This vaccine is the second to be used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been dealing with a deadly Ebola outbreak for more than a year.
The DRC is currently using the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine from Merck to protect people considered at high risk for contracting Ebola, including people who have been in contact with someone who has Ebola or someone who has been in contact with someone else who had direct contact with an Ebola patient. More than 223,000 people have been vaccinated with this initial vaccine.
Joining Merck’s vaccine will be the product from Johnson & Johnson, which WHO explains is administered in two doses 56 days apart. This vaccine will be reserved for people who are at-risk in regions that aren’t experiencing an active Ebola transmission. WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said:
The evaluation of the second Ebola vaccine will help ensure that we have potentially an additional tool to prevent the expansion of the outbreak and also a potential tool to protect populations before outbreaks hit areas at risk.
The Merck vaccination has been described as very effective in protecting at-risk populations; the second vaccine will help expand that protection, reducing transmission among ongoing community efforts to end the outbreak. Merck has already provided 245,000 doses of its vaccine in the DRC and surrounding nations, and it has another 190,000 doses ready to go.