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J&J to supply 500,000 Ebola vaccines to fight DR Congo outbreak

Published on 07/11/19 at 11:31am

Johnson & Johnson has reached an agreement with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to supply up to 500,000 regimens of its Ebola virus vaccine in an effort to aid an expanded public health initiative to help battle the ongoing outbreak of the disease in the country.

The current outbreak in DRC is the second-worst on record after the 2014-2016 West Africa epidemic; to date, more than 3,000 cases have been reported and 2,000 patients have died. The situation was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization in July this year.

The introduction of the vaccine, produced by J&J’s clinical research firm Janssen in collaboration with global partners, was announced by Dr Eteni Longondo, DRC’s Minister of Public Health, as part of a wider strategy to fight the outbreak. The vaccine will be deployed in the border city of Goma, a trading hub between DRC and Rwanda, in November, in partnership with a range of global health organisations and DRC stakeholders.

J&J confirmed that the first batches of the vaccine had already been shipped to DRC. A clinical study of the vaccine will also be undertaken by the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale and the DRC Ministry of Health, supported by Médecins Sans Frontières, Epicentre and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“No single entity can solve this outbreak which has continued for more than a year,” commented Dr Paul Stoffels, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer of Johnson & Johnson. “The global health community has come together in support of this initiative using Janssen’s investigational Ebola vaccine regimen to help prevent its further spread. This collaboration is essential, and a great demonstration of how the public and private sectors can work together to help tackle a public health crisis.”

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky added: “Johnson & Johnson has been working to provide solutions to the world’s unmet healthcare needs for over a century—and the threat of Ebola is one of the most urgent challenges we’ve ever encountered. The fact that we’re in a position to help the people of the DRC protect their communities from such a serious threat—just a few years after we pledged to accelerate vaccine development efforts—is a testament to both the ingenuity of Janssen’s scientists, and the power of close collaboration between partners committed to working for the greater good of all.”

Matt Fellows

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