An experimental Ebola vaccine may be used in the outbreak in the remote northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 2017 Tutu Fellow Yap Boum is an epidemiologist with Epicentre Africa, the organization that has helped to set up a vaccine trial protocol with the Congolese government. Trial protocols are required for approval for use of an experimental drug. If granted, the vaccine could be used within weeks.
The vaccine, which was made by Merck, is selectively given to those who are most likely to have had contact with a person with Ebola, in a type of trial called a ring vaccination protocol. During the last outbreak, people who received the vaccine showed 100% protection 10 days after immunization. Ring protocols are somewhat unusual, but in order to ease approval, Epicentre Africa has followed a similar approach. Boum says that international community has been supportive out of fear of a repetition of what happened in West Africa. Representatives from international aid and development organisations have strengthened their presence and have flown in cargo planes and helicopters. So far, fortunately, the outbreak has been limited.
A more complete report is at Science Mag.