Channel NewsAsia

Canada sends experimental Ebola vaccine to west Africa

Canada is sending up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to west Africa to help the WHO fight an epidemic, the health minister announced on Wednesday (Aug 13). 

OTTAWA: Canada is sending up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to west Africa to help the WHO fight an epidemic, the health minister announced on Wednesday (Aug 13). Minister Rona Ambrose said between 800 to 1,000 doses would be distributed through the World Health Organization where it is needed.

Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea have reported cases. The Canadian government, Ambrose said, "is committed to doing everything we can to support our international partners, including providing staff to assist with the outbreak response, funding and access to our experimental vaccine."

The VSV-EBOV vaccine was developed at Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It has never been tested in humans, but has shown promise in animal research, according to the government, which licensed BioProtection Systems to further develop the product for use in humans.

The epidemic, the worst since Ebola was first discovered four decades ago, has killed more than 1,000 people since early this year, according to the World Health Organization.

There is currently no available cure or vaccine for Ebola, which the WHO has declared a global public health emergency. To combat its spread, the WHO has authorised the use of experimental drugs.

A US company that makes and experimental serum called ZMapp said on Tuesday it had sent all its available supply to hard-hit west Africa. Two US missionary workers with Ebola who were repatriated from Monrovia are being treated with the drug at an isolation unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

A 75-year-old Spanish priest was also treated with ZMapp after contracting Ebola in the Liberian capital Monrovia where he worked with infected patients. He died in a Madrid hospital on Tuesday.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia