Merck readies experimental vaccine for new Ebola outbreak

May 14, 2018

The World Health Organization is moving quickly to deploy an experimental Ebola vaccine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the disease has already killed at least 19.

Merck and Co. began developing the vaccine when Ebola ravaged parts of West Africa from 2014-2016 and killed around 11,300 people.  

Officials believe that the new outbreak started about five weeks ago in a remote area of Congo. So far, there have been around 40 confirmed cases and concerns are mounting that it could spread to a nearby provincial capital of 1 million people. 

Although the vaccine has not yet won regulatory approval, WHO officials are ready to begin using it and plan to vaccinate anyone who they know has come into contact with infected individuals.

Merck developed the V920 vaccine with researchers from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory and then licensed it to NewLink Genetics to speed up development. Merck has 300,000 doses in its own stockpile and said it has 4,300 doses ready for transport to Congo this week.

Read the full Reuters report.