The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said it had prequalified an Ebola vaccine for the first time, hailing a “critical step” towards its licensing, access and roll-out in countries most at risk of outbreaks.
“This is the fastest vaccine prequalification process ever conducted by WHO,” it said in a statement, explaining that “prequalification means that the vaccine meets WHO standards for quality, safety and efficacy.”
The announcement comes hot on the heels of a decision last Monday by the European Commission to allow the release to market of the injectable vaccine, Ervebo, made by US laboratory Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD) after the European Medicines Agency gave the product its green light on October 18.
“This is a historic step towards ensuring the people who most need it are able to access this life-saving vaccine,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Five years ago, we had no vaccine and no therapeutics for Ebola. With a prequalified vaccine and experimental therapeutics, Ebola is now preventable and treatable,” he added.