Uganda launches new trial of experimental Ebola vaccine


Health researchers in Uganda have launched the largest trial to date of an experimental Ebola vaccine expected to be deployed in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The move comes as Uganda steps up preventative measures to minimise the risk of the disease spreading within its borders. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency related to the Ebola outbreak in the DRC although it suggested the risk of the disease spreading into surrounding countries remains low.

Uganda trials Ebola vaccine

Uganda has started a trial of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals Ebola vaccine, which will be tested on up to 800 people in the western district of Mbarara. This will be the largest trial of the vaccine to date, supported by Doctors without Borders and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Uganda is stepping up its efforts to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading into the country from the neighbouring DRC.

Two people died in Uganda from the disease in June after two Ugandans travelled to the DRC and brought it back with them. However, no new cases have been reported in the country since then and all measures being taken in Uganda are on a preventative basis.

The Ebola outbreak in the DRC is the second-largest in history, killing more than 1,800 people so far. Health experts have warned that roughly half of all cases in the country could still be unreported while violence in parts of the country and a distrust of health officials have hampered efforts to contain the disease.

More than 180,000 people in the DRC have already received experiment Ebola vaccines but health officials have expressed concerns about the availability of doses required to tackle the spread of the disease.

Last month, the first cases of Ebola in the busy city of Goma, which rests along the border with Rwanda were reported.

Featured image: “DRC: A Trip to the Front Lines of the Fight Against Ebola” flickr photo by World Bank Photo Collection shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.