Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng the Minister of Health has said that in addition to improved disease surveillance and contact tracing, early diagnosis and treatment has also been critical in curbing the Ebola pandemic.
Uganda has now gone 24 days without registering any new Ebola case and if the situation doesn’t change, the country will be declared Ebola free on January 11th 2023.
Since the Ebola outbreak was declared on September 12th, the country has since recorded a total of 142 confirmed cases and 56 deaths in nine districts, as of December 4th, there were about 46 contacts under follow-up which is also attributed to infection prevention and control as well as mobilizing communities to support the response.
Aceng made these remarks while officially receiving the second consignment of Ebola trial vaccines at the National Medical Stores warehouse in Entebbe on Thursday.
On December 17th, the country received two more candidate vaccines and they included 2,160 doses from Merck/IAVI’s SV-SUDV and 2,000 doses of Chad0X1 manufactured by Serum institute of India.
The second consignment makes a total of 5,256 trial vaccines in the country currently, and according to the Minister, they will be evaluated for safety, immunogenicity and efficacy under a protocol Solidarity against Ebola.
“The arrival of these trial vaccine doses only 75 days after the outbreak is a declared historical achievement for the country and global capacity to respond to outbreaks and prevent them from becoming pandemics.” Aceng added.
“Currently, there are no new Ebola cases in the country, the trial is evaluating alternative research designs to assess the usefulness of these vaccines in protecting people against Ebola infection” Aceng further highlighted.
The Ministry of Health together with World Health Organization and Makerere University Lung Institute started preparing for Ebola vaccine trial within 11 days of the outbreak, the three in a record of 75 days managed to complete all trial preparations activities including having trial vaccines in the country.
In his remarks, the World Health Organization country representative Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam noted that with the 4,160 doses officially received today, the country now has all potential vaccines to try and it is also another tool to manage Ebola Sudan virus if it ever happens again.
Dr. Yonas further noted that Uganda through Makerere University Lung Institute scientists now has the skills and capacity to make a trial of Ebola Sudan vaccine and this process is a significant achievement to the country and the world at large.
The country representative reechoed their commitment to support Prof. Bruce Kirenga the principal investigator and his team on this research because they are a joy to not only Uganda but also the global health system.
Prof. Bruce Kirenga the Director Makerere University Lung Institute noted that after receiving the candidate vaccines on the first consignment, they immediately dispatched a team to engage potential participants of the last case to start the trial process.
“Our team engaged the contacts and listed 9 of them, 5 of these were eligible to participate in the clinical trial, we started engaging them to start the process but this ended prematurely because the window of 21 days elapsed before vaccination took place” Kirenga added.
He however noted that they are currently continuing with other clinical engagement trial processes like community engagement and sensitization and he thanked all the partners they are working with on this process for their support.
The trial vaccines were originally designed and approved as a ring vaccination trial that includes contacts of new confirmed cases and with an expiry date of over 2years.