A debate is raging over proposals that a second vaccine be introduced to fight Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo, currently in the grip of its worst outbreak. The DR Congo Health Minister, Dr Oly Ilunga, who resigned after being stripped of management of the country’s Ebola response, said the current vaccine is the only one that has been proven to be effective, and an opposition MP said the new vaccine is untested, and fears people in the country will be used as guinea pigs.Leading health experts say the second vaccine is safe and could be an important tool in holding back the spread of the virus.So what are the concerns, and are they justified?Tried and tested?It has been tested on over 6,000 people and “has shown outstanding safety,” says Professor Peter Piot, a leading expert on Ebola and director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, which has been involved in evaluating the vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson.Studies have shown that although the drug is still in the experimental phase, it has proved highly effective in tests on primates (animals genetically close to humans). The only way to test its effectiveness as prevention measure… Read full this story
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