“The world is far better prepared for another Ebola outbreak,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, at a celebratory event (held on May 5), to recognise the Governments and people of the three most-affected countries for their contribution to the control of the Ebola outbreak in 2014-15.

Dr Chan joined the President of the Republic of Guinea, HE Professor Alpha Conde, His Excellency Minister of Health, Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, and representatives from the Governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone, in celebrating the successful development of the world’s first vaccine against Ebola. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of WHO’s Office of the African Region, was also present at this celebration.

“This truly remarkable achievement is thanks to collaborative efforts of the Government of Guinea, health workers, local and international scientists, public and private entities, international donors and, above all, the thousands of people who consented to be vaccinated in this vaccine trial,” she said.

In December 2016, The Lancet published results of the WHO-led Guinea ring vaccination trial, showing that the world’s first Ebola vaccine provides substantial protection. Among more than 11 000 people who were vaccinated in the trial, no cases of Ebola virus disease occurred.

Building on the work done to fast-track the development and testing of this vaccine, WHO established the R&D Blueprint to help cut the time in future for the development of new vaccines and treatments against new and emerging infectious diseases including Lassa Fever and MERS Coronavirus.

Dr Chan presented certificates to selected individuals for their remarkable contribution to the vaccine trial as well as the control of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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