The timing was tragic. Merck embraced a vital mission in 2014 when it began developing an Ebola vaccine in collaboration with Canada’s public health agency and NewLink Genetics, not long after the deadly virus broke out in West Africa. Effective vaccines take months to create, and by the time V920 could be deployed, the disease had claimed thousands of lives.
But when the scourge rose again earlier this year, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Merck was ready. It shipped nearly 13,000 doses of V920 to the World Health Organization, which provided vaccinations to more than 3,300 people. The DRC’s health ministry says no vaccinated people developed the disease—and with another outbreak declared in the eastern DRC in August, Merck’s lifesaver is on the front lines once more.
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DRC authorities still have thousands of doses on hand.