The Ebola vaccine that has already been used in an ongoing outbreak in Congo against the often deadly disease, is the first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The vaccine, known as Ervebo and developed by the pharmaceutical company Merck, was tested in West Africa during the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak and was found to be effective in preventing infection.
The vaccine was approved for those 18 years of age and older to prevent disease caused by one Ebola virus species, Zaire ebolavirus. The decision of the FDA, announced on December 19, follows in the footsteps of the November approval of European regulators.
According to the World Health Organization (SN: 5/21/18), there had been 3,351 cases and 2,211 deaths in the spread of Ebola in Congo as of December 18. About 250,000 people were vaccinated.
The vaccine has helped health officials working to control the outbreak as well as new treatments for those already infected.
In a clinical trial performed during the epidemic, two of the four therapies were found to be effective in preventing death from the disease.
The number of new cases has declined, but there are still treacherous conditions in the country for those working to bring the outbreak to an end.
At the end of November, four workers aided in the outbreak including a vaccine team member, were killed by armed attackers.


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