Gavi teams up with MSD to battle Ebola

Gavi has announced a partnership with MSD to create an Ebola vaccine.

Gavi and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) have joined forces to battle Ebola. 

The two companies reached an agreement to co-develop a vaccine to prevent future outbreaks of Ebola, which has caused havoc in West Africa over the past couple of years.

“We are very pleased to join with Gavi in announcing this Advance Purchase Commitment agreement to support the provision of MSD’s investigational monovalent Ebola Zaire vaccine -- in case of a resurgence of the Ebola outbreak or a new outbreak,” Dr Julie Gerberding, executive vice president of strategic communications, global public policy and population health for Merck, said. “We applaud Gavi for this bold step to be a part of the solution to address a disease that has impacted so many lives.”

The agreement will see Gavi provide $5 million to Merck’s Ebola Zaire vaccine. It could potentially be submitted for approval starting in 2017.

“The suffering caused by the Ebola crisis was a wake-up call to many in the global health community,” Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said. “New threats require smart solutions, and our innovative financing agreement with Merck will ensure that we are ahead of the curve for future Ebola outbreaks.” 

The Ebola virus broke out in West Africa two years ago this January. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea were the main countries affected, but some cases reached as far as the U.S.

“The most recent Ebola-related death in Sierra Leone and the fact that we know the reservoirs of Ebola still exist underline why we must learn lessons from the devastating impact of the crisis and ensure we are better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks,” Berkley said. “The world is still worryingly underprepared for potential future health threats -- and a change of mindset is required to ensure we invest in research and development today to protect ourselves in years to come.”

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