Ebola may be a thing in the past, thanks to scientists that contribute to the fight against this deadly disease. For the first time in history, the Food and Drug Administration approved Merck’s Ervebo, an Ebola vaccine that prevents the development of this disease caused by the Zaire Ebolavirus. An approval that comes from an earlier victory in November, when Merck won approval from the European Medicine Agency (EMA). With approval from the FDA and EMA, they are gearing their efforts to break into a country that truly needs the vaccine, Africa. States like Zaire or the Democratic Republic of Congo are facing a challenge in battling Ebola. An obstacle that Merck is pushing its regulatory arm in taking their vaccine to states fighting this disease. To speed the approval of their drug in Africa, they have teamed up with the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) to take their vaccine to high-risk states battling the virus.
Investigational Drug V920 or Ervebo was developed by scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Microbiology Laboratory. The development of V920 was then spun off to a small biotechnology company, Newlink Genetics Corporation. In 2014, when Africa was battling the worst Ebola Outbreak since 1976, Merck decided to join the fight by purchasing the technology from Newlink. Thanks to Merck’s presence and decision to purchase the technology, they were able to take the vaccine from clinical to commercial. Their decision to invest heavily in the drug development of V920 or Ervebo will now be accessible for any country that may see themselves in an outbreak.
It is estimated that more than 11,000 patients diagnosed with Ebola since 2014 have succumbed to their disease. As of 2019, the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history. The approval of Ervebo will benefit states like Zaire, Sierra Leone, and the west Sub Sahara of Africa.
By preventing and containing a disease like Ebola, we are pushing healthcare forward for everyone. Since the outbreak in 2014, Ebola was at one point of concern for many around the world when they heard the disease spreading from one country to another. Some of us even wondering whether this disease will be the next plague affecting our country.
When news broke out about Ebola potentially being the next epidemic, scientists, doctors, and nurses from all parts of the world came together to take on a disease that at one point was killing anyone that had it. Volunteers so selfless, that it cost some of them in losing their lives in trying to stop the disease from spreading. Thanks to them, we are now at a point where a vaccine could prevent the next outbreak from happening.