WHO: Trials of Ebola Vaccine Coming Soon

As CDC releases new guidelines for dealing with cases
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 21, 2014 7:29 AM CDT
WHO: Trials of Ebola Vaccine Coming Soon
In this Oct. 18, 2014, file photo, a burial team in protective gear carry the body of a woman suspected to have died from the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia.   (Abbas Dulleh)

A top World Health Organization official says the hunt for an Ebola vaccine will produce data about whether they're safe by December—and they could be in experimental field use by January. Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director-general for WHO, says clinical trials planned or underway in Europe, Africa, and the US are being accompanied by a push among governments for immediate "real-world use" of an approved Ebola vaccine. "There is no vaccine that has no side effects at all," Kieny said, as per CNN. She stressed that trials are very accessible: "It will be open to the general public. It can be you, me." She told reporters today in Geneva that, if the vaccines are deemed safe, tens of thousands of doses would be used in a West African trial in January.

Meanwhile, the CDC released new guidelines yesterday to promote head-to-toe protection for health workers treating Ebola patients. The revision comes after two Dallas nurses became infected and the CDC's previous guidance was denounced as confusing and inadequate; many nurses said they were fearfully unprepared for how to deal with an Ebola patient. Among the new guidelines:

  • They call for full-body garb and hoods that protect workers' necks; set rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands; and call for a "site manager" to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.
  • They also call for health workers to repeatedly practice and demonstrate proficiency in donning and doffing gear—before ever being allowed near a patient.
  • They ask hospitals to establish designated areas for putting on and taking off equipment, whether it's a room adjacent to an Ebola patient's room or a hallway area cordoned off with a plastic sheet.
The CDC cannot require hospitals to follow the guidance; it's merely official advice. (More Ebola stories.)

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