By Asma’u Ahmad
The Ministry of Health in Congo confirmed the arrival of an experimental vaccine, which is manufactured by Merck and proven to successfully treat the Ebola Virus Disease during its first wide-scale usage against the outbreak in the northwest.
The ministry said more than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to quickly deploy it to the affected areas near the Ugandan border.
The ministry also added that health workers in Congo have set up refrigerators to keep cool an Ebola vaccine needed to tackle an outbreak suspected to have infected 43 people.
Giving the latest figures on the epidemic, which was declared just days after an outbreak in northwestern Congo 4,023 km away was declared over, the ministry said of the 43 suspected cases, 16 were now confirmed.
The ministry said there were three new cases confirmed and four new deaths, as of Monday. It did not give a total death toll, but previous ministry reports have put deaths at more than 30.
“The cold chain for the vaccinations arrived in Beni on this sixth of August,” the statement said. “Twelve teams of vaccinators will be deployed in the different affected zones.”
The vaccine normally needs to be kept at 80 degrees Celsius below freezing (minus 112 Fahrenheit), although it can be stored for a couple of weeks at just above freezing.