In response to the spreading of the Ebola virus to urban areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that it has scheduled an “emergency meeting” tomorrow to assess the global risks this latest outbreak poses.
If the WHO deems necessary, a concerted effort by the international community to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading to other parts of Africa and beyond – perhaps even to Europe – will be launched after the committee meets.
In the meantime, the United Nations has deployed personnel to Congo to offer local authorities assistance. The UN’s emergency responders are being offered a shot of an experimental vaccine before they set off.
“For the first time, we are offering vaccination to all international responders — and we’ll be doing that in Geneva and in Kinshasa,” WHO Deputy director-general Peter Salama said today in a telephone interview, according to Reuters.
The VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine, which will be administered on Friday, was developed by US pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., and is yet to receive its full license from the relevant authorities and agencies, but has been “proven safe and effective in trials.”