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Salvation? Congo Approves Use of Experimental Ebola Vaccine

© AP Photo / Abbas DullehHealth workers carry the body of a man suspected of dying from the Ebola virus and left in the street
Health workers carry the body of a man suspected of dying from the Ebola virus and left in the street - Sputnik International
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Congolese authorities have approved the use of a new vaccine in the country to combat the spread of the Ebola virus.

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Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gave conditional approval for an Ebola virus vaccine to be administered in the country on Monday.

After working to control at least eight outbreaks of the deadly disease over the past 10 years, officials with DRC Health Ministry gave their approval for the new vaccine, developed by US pharmaceutical giant Merck.

"The non-objection was given. Now there's a Medecins Sans Frontieres team that is arriving [to the DRC] today to validate the protocol with the technical teams," stated DRC health ministry spokesman Jonathan Simba, according to Reuters.

The Merck rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine remains unlicensed, but has been shown to be effective against Ebola in clinical trials.

Four deaths attributed to the Ebola virus have been recorded in northeastern regions of the DRC in recent weeks, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency, as officials again move quickly to stem another outbreak, according to reports for the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO has confirmed 52 new cases of the deadly disease in the most recent wave, but has added that the situation is under control.

The logistical challenge of a wide-ranging vaccination campaign in the deep forests of the central African country is compounded by the need to transport and store the vaccines in custom-built containers kept at temperatures of minus 80 degrees Celsius prior to their use.

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