By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Uganda’s Health Ministry said on Saturday that clinical trials for a potential vaccine against a rare strain of the Ebola virus, which is driving up cases in the East African nation, will start next week.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokeswoman for the ministry, said: “Getting the outbreak under control is our priority and a worthwhile investment, together with other health development partners, we are racing to have the clinical trials starting next week.”
He further said more than 800 active contacts have been listed in the country.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said this week that several vaccines are in various stages of development against the Sudan strain of Ebola.
He added that they could begin clinical trials in Uganda after regulatory and ethics approvals from the Ugandan government.
Scientists have been working on at least eight possible vaccines that could tackle the Sudan strain, including a single-dose version, which has been licensed by the US-based Sabin Vaccine Institute.
WHO health emergency officer for the Africa region Dr Patrick Otim said on Friday that two vaccine candidates could offer protection against the Sudanese strain, but that they are yet to go into clinical trials.
There are 44 cumulative cases and 10 deaths reported in the East African nation, but the toll of people who succumbed to the virus before it could be identified could be higher.