KINSHASA, Congo — Congo has agreed to allow the World Health Organization to use an experimental Ebola vaccine to combat an outbreak announced last week, the WHO director-general said Monday.
The aim is for health officials to start using the vaccine by the end of the week, or next week if there are difficulties, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
‘‘We have agreement, registration, plus import permit — everything formally agreed already,” he said. “And as you know that vaccine is safe and efficacious and has been already tested. So I think we can all be prepared. All is ready now to use it.’’
The outbreak was announced last week in Bikoro, in Congo’s northwest. Health officials traveled there after Congo’s Equateur provincial health ministry on May 3 alerted them to 17 deaths from a hemorrhagic fever.
As of May 13, Congo has 39 suspected, probable, and confirmed cases of Ebola since April, including 19 deaths, WHO reported. Two cases of Ebola have been confirmed.
The new experimental vaccine, developed by the Canadian government and now licensed to the Merck.