Merck & Co. becomes the first drug developer to win approval for an Ebola vaccine last year from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and EMA (European Medicines Agency). It won approval in four African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the most affected countries by the Ebola disease, Burundi, Ghana, and Zambia.
The worst Ebola outbreak to date resulted in 28,600 cases and over 11,000 deaths, with the urgency of the crisis leading to several major pharma companies to begin the development of vaccines to tackle the disease.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the approval of Ervebo (Ebola Vaccine) will allow Merck to stockpile and widely distribute this vaccine to countries that are at risk of the outbreaks. It is expected to be available to the public by the third quarter of 2020.
Ervebo was tested over 11,841 people in Guinea in 2015 at the peak of the outbreak. Among the 5,837 people who have received the vaccine, no cases were recorded after 10 days or more after the vaccination date.
As well as Merck, J&J has submitted marketing authorization applications with the EMA for its own Ebola vaccine, which comprises two doses of Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo.
The regimen is delivered through the first dose of Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo as the second dose, approximately eight weeks later. The latter vaccine is based on Danish biotech Bavarian Nordic’s technology.