UK Heath Radio – Medical News Update on the Hour
As the Ebola crisis continues the BBC have reported that millions of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines will be produced by the end of 2015, according to the World Health Organization.
Apparently "several hundred thousand" vaccines will be produced in the first half of the year with vaccines being offered to health workers on the front line in West Africa as early as December 2014.
However, the WHO added a note of caution that vaccines would not be a "magic bullet" for ending the outbreak. Currently there is no proven cure or vaccine for Ebola.
It normally takes years to produce and test a vaccine, but drug manufacturers are now working on a scale of weeks. There have been further developments too:
- Dozens of people are being monitored in Mali after the country confirmed its first case of Ebola
- A nurse in Dallas, Texas who was infected with Ebola is now free of the virus
- Health officials in New York are seeking people who came into contact with a doctor who tested positive after returning from Guinea
- European Union leaders agreed to increase their financial help on fighting Ebola in West Africa from some 600m euros ($758m; £743m)
Volunteers on the front line of the epidemic will be vaccinated first and healthcare workers, who place themselves at risk when treating patients, will take part in the first trials in West Africa. The WHO says we should have the first hints of how effective these experimental vaccines are by April. There are no plans for mass vaccination before June 2015 but the WHO has not ruled that out.
The WHO says vaccines are likely to be key to ending the outbreak, even if cases fall in the next few months.
UK Health Radio – Medical News Update on the Hour
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