Mar 25, 2019 | Updated: 02:07 PM EDT

Ebola Virus Vaccine Developments - News Update: Canada vaccine could be world's hope to halt the virus's spread

Oct 18, 2014 11:12 PM EDT

Advocacy campaign in Africa against ebola
(Photo : Getty Images)
Ebola virus
(Photo : Getty Images)

With the ebola epidemic spreading at a pace where mortality rates surpass survival rates, medical and healthcare companies are exhausting all means in finding a cure for the dreaded disease.

A more preventive approach is being developed by researchers as well as pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline which is fast-tracking a vaccine to prevent the spread of the disease. However, the company also disclosed that full date and efficacy would not be ready until late 2015. A series of tests is still needed to see if the vaccine would work, and it usually takes seven to ten years to develop a vaccine, GSK admitted.

The good news: A possible vaccine is still on its way! And this will be all the way from Canada.

Earlier today, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that they would be shipping an experimental ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO), starting with its first shipment on Monday (Oct. 20).

According to the health agency, the shipping will be via air courier from Winnipeg to the University Hospital of Geneva, and will be sent in three separate shipments as precautionary measure in case of accidents during the shipping.

Canada will be sending a total of 800 vials of the experimental vaccine packed in dry ice at temperature of -80 degrees Celsius.

It could be recalled that on October 13, 2014, the Government of Canada announced the start of clinical trials for the said vaccine at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the United States. The vaccine has shown very promising results in animals, and clinical trials in humans are starting to be conducted with hopes of making it available as an international resource.

And while other pharmaceutical companies are on their way of conducting researches to develop cure and vaccine for ebola, this Canadian vaccine is a product of more than 10 years of scientific research by Public Health Agency of Canada scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory.

Dr. Gregory Taylor, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, said, "This vaccine, the product of many years of scientific research and innovation, could be an important tool in curbing the outbreak. We will continue to work closely with the WHO to address some of the ethical and logistical issues around using this experimental vaccine in the fight against ebola."

According to the WHO, out of the 9,000 people that have been infected by the ebola virus, 4,500 have already died. WHO has also warned the global community that there could soon be 10,000 new cases a week.

The government of Canada is taking a whole-of-government approach to fight the Ebola virus disease in West Africa as it has committed a total of $65.4 million to the global efforts to support health, humanitarian and security interventions to address the spread of the disease.

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