From Kester Kenn Klomegah,
Moscow Bureau Chief
Moscow (Russia), May 16, GNA – Russia plans to provide medical assistance to deal with and eradicate the fresh outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
An official statement released by the Russian Health Ministry said: “Russia’s participation in collective efforts would make a noticeable contribution to the timely elimination of the outbreak of this dreadful disease and is ready to send highly-qualified medical experts to assist in the fight against the Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
It said vaccination and clinical testing of the Russian Vaccine Gam Evac Combi against the deadly Ebola Virus, launched in Guinea in August 2017, would be sent to the DRC.
“Under the programme of trials, volunteers will be vaccinated with the Gam Evac Combi and their condition and immune development will be monitored. Successful result of research will give a possibility to use the Russian vaccine as a preventive measure against Ebola across the world,” the release said.
The vaccine “develops long-lasting immunity of the vaccinated person and has no serious side effects,” the Ministry said.
It noted that the Russian vaccine is the only duly registered one at the national level among the medicines against the EVD.
The GNA has learned that Russia’s Gam Evac Combi is the world’s first officially registered vaccine approved for clinical use for the prevention of haemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola Virus.
The presentation of the vaccine to the World Health Organisation (WHO) took place in Geneva on February 15, 2016.
According to the WHO and Congo’s Government, the Ebola disease restarted in Equateur Province in Kinshasa early May, and about 32 confirmed cases of a haemorrhagic fever had been reported with 17 deaths.
The last Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo broke out in 2017 but was quickly contained due to timely alert and joint efforts by the Government, WHO, and other international partners.
Both health experts and government officials strongly feared that there was a risk of Ebola’s spread to the nine neighbouring states. Many foreign governments have already issued travel warnings to their potential travelling citizens to the affected Region and Africa.
The Federal Agency for Tourism, in a statement posted to its website, recommended Russians not to travel to Ebola-affected countries in Africa.
The EVD was first discovered in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks; one in Nzara, South Sudan, and Yambuku in Zaire, now DR Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
According to health statistics, more than 11,300 people have died from the disease in West Africa, primarily in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with more than 28,600 infected.