Guinea declares Ebola epidemic following first deaths since 2016

Microscopic view of Ebola Virus

Guinea has officially declared it is dealing with an Ebola epidemic, after at least three people died from the virus.

The BBC reported that these first deaths from Ebola since 2016 were linked to the burial of a nurse, where four others fell ill with diarrhoea, vomiting and bleeding.

Newly developed vaccines will be supplied by the World Health Organization in a bid to contain the pandemic, officials said.

Between 2013 and 2016 more than 11,000 people died in the West Africa Ebola epidemic that begun in Guinea.

That outbreak mainly affected Guinea and its neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone and several vaccines have since been trialled and successfully used to fight the disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Drugs are also available that can increase the survival rate of patients.

Last month, four health and humanitarian organisations including the WHO announced they had established a global stockpile of Ebola vaccines.

The injectable single-dose Ebola vaccine is manufactured by MSD, known as Merck & Co in the US and Canada.

The European Medicines Agency licensed the Ebola vaccine in November 2019, and the vaccine is now prequalified by WHO, and licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as in eight African countries.

The WHO has joined with UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

An initial 6890 doses are now available for outbreak response with further quantities to be delivered into the stockpile this month and throughout 2021 and beyond.

Depending on the rate of vaccine deployment, it could take two to three years to reach the recommended level of 500,000 doses for the emergency stockpile of Ebola vaccines recommended by the WHO’s experts.

WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and vaccine manufacturers are continuously assessing options to increase vaccine supply should global demand increase.