By Dina Fine Maron
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) just got worse. In what the World Health Organization’s top response official is calling a “game changer” event, one case has now been confirmed in Mbandaka—a city of 1.2 million people about 150 kilometers from the rural rainforest area where the other confirmed Ebola cases have been found.
The country has been grappling with 44 reported cases, three of which have been confirmed. Another 20 of these cases have been categorized as probable, and 21 are suspected. At least 23 of these individuals have died, according to the latest WHO figures.
The Geneva-based Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership that has purchased 300,000 doses of the experimental Ebola vaccine for an emergency stockpile, has already committed funding to deploy thousands of doses during this outbreak. This Merck-produced vaccine has been through clinical trials but is not yet licensed by any health authority. The DRC government, however, approved its deployment under what are known as compassionate-use regulations.
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