WHO eyes mass Ebola vaccines by mid-2015


GENEVA- Hundreds of thousands of Ebola vaccine doses could be rolled out to West Africa by mid-2015, the World Health Organization said Friday, after a new case of the virus was reported in New York and a two-year-old girl died in the first case in Mali.

Two American nurses were declared cured of Ebola and one — Dallas-based Nina Pham — hugged President Barack Obama at the White House to prove it.

But the states of New York and New Jersey ordered mandatory quarantine for medics who had treated victims of the disease in West Africa.

Steps include mandatory quarantine 21 days of any individual who has had direct contact with an Ebola patient while in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, including medics who treated Ebola patients.

The new measures were ordered by state governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie on Friday, the day after an American doctor tested positive for Ebola one week after returning from working in hard-hit Guinea.

Craig Spencer, 33, was in said to be in stable condition in isolation at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center, receiving treatment for the illness which has killed nearly 4,900 people — most of them in West Africa.

Europe’s main stock markets fell on Friday over concerns about New York’s first case, in a doctor who tested positive after returning from treating sufferers in Guinea, one of the countries at the epicentre of the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.

The search for an effective vaccine to fight the disease took on fresh urgency as the WHO said several hundred thousand doses could be available in the “first half” of 2015.

“All is being put in place to start efficacy tests in the affected countries as early as December,” WHO assistant director general Marie-Paule Kieny said.

Kieny’s comments came after closed-door talks to try to find a vaccine to beat a disease that has ravaged the west African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

SOURCE: AFP

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