The Government of Canada will ship 800 vials of its experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, beginning with its first shipment on Monday, October 20, 2014.
The vaccine vials are being sent in three separate shipments, as a precautionary measure, due to the challenges in moving a vaccine that must kept at a very low temperature at all times.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is supplying the vaccine to the WHO in its role as the international coordinating body for the Ebola outbreak, so that the vaccine can be made available as an international resource.
The World Health Organization, in consultation with partners, including the health authorities from the affected countries, will guide and facilitate how the vaccine is distributed and used. There are both ethical and logistical challenges with the use of experimental vaccines and treatments in humans and the WHO is considering them carefully before using the vaccine in this outbreak.
On October 13, 2014, the Government of Canada announced the start of clinical trials for the vaccine at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the United States. These trials will provide critical information about the safety of the vaccine and what dose is required to stimulate a person’s immune system to produce Ebola antibodies. Results from the clinical trial are expected in December 2014.
Canada retained roughly a third of its overall inventory of experimental vaccine vials for further research and compassionate use in Canada as needed.
Canadian Health Minister, Rona Ambrose said, “Canada views this experimental Ebola vaccine as a global resource and in the interest of global public health, we are sharing it with our international partners to help address the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.”
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