In a move that could save countless lives, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine designed to combat Ebola with a truly incredible success rate. The drug, called Ervebo, has proven itself in Ebola-devastated areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and while cases of Ebola are uncommon in the United States, it’s a powerful weapon in the arsenal of healthcare workers.
Like any virus, the Ebola virus comes in more than one strain, and combating those various strains can prove difficult for scientists. One particularly troubling strain is the Zaire variant, and the Ervebo vaccine has demonstrated itself to be 100% effective when administered correctly.
The drug, which was developed by Merck & Co., has a record of 100% effectiveness when it is administered a minimum of 10 days before exposure to the virus. The vaccine is a single-dose shot, which is ideal, especially in areas ravaged by the virus where requiring people to come back for multiple appointments can be tricky.
That, obviously, is an incredible success rate, and while it may have more of an impact in areas of the world where the virus seems to spread like wildfire, the FDA approval of the drug means it could be used in the United States if needed.
“Ebola virus disease is a rare but severe and often deadly disease that knows no borders. Vaccination is essential to help prevent outbreaks and to stop the Ebola virus from spreading when outbreaks do occur,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “The FDA’s approval of Ervebo is a major advance in helping to protect against the Zaire ebolavirus as well as advancing U.S. government preparedness efforts.”