citation

"DRC Ebola News (11/1/19)." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, November 01, 2019. Accessed November 18, 2019. https://healthsecurity.csis.org/articles/drc-ebola-news-11-1-19/

Daily update for November 1st, 2019 on the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Photo Credit: Mike Stone/Getty Images

There was 1 new case reported on October 31st.

Global consortium that includes the DRC ministry of health, Doctors without Borders, the Wellcome Trust, and CEPI, among other groups, is preparing to introduce the J&J Ebola vaccine to be used in the DRC in the coming days.

WHO and DRC officials are changing how some Ebola patients are cared for, after a patient’s death challenged the accepted medical theory that survivors are immune to reinfection.

Ebola in DRC: NGOs organize to coordinate community engagement work

DRC MoH Statistics/WHO AFRO Dashboard (as of October 31)

WHO AFRO Dashboard

Total cases: 3,273

  • Confirmed cases: 3,156
  • Probable cases: 117
  • Suspected cases: 500

Deaths: 2,183

Vaccinated: 245,520

Consortium readies for launch of 2nd Ebola vaccine in DRC

CIDRAP

10/31/19

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will donate 500,000 doses of the vaccine to the consortium, which will distribute and study it as part of a clinical trial in the DRC sponsored by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Although the vaccine has proved to be safe and capable of eliciting an immune response in more than 6,500 humans, there are no human data on its efficacy in preventing Ebola infection in an outbreak setting. In the DRC, the vaccine will be given to adults and children over 1 year in two doses, spaced 2 months apart. The first dose primes the immune system, and the second aims to enhance the duration of the immune response. The DRC’s Ebola technical committee (CMRE) said immunization efforts with the J&J vaccine will start in Goma and will progress from there. Though the outbreak has slowed in recent weeks, it’s moving into its 15th month.

In May 2019, the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization recommended introducing the J&J vaccine into the DRC outbreak. Earlier this year researchers in Uganda launched a 2-year clinical trial of the vaccine among healthcare and frontline workers. CEPI also said the vaccine is being studied alongside the Merck vaccine as part of a large phase 2 randomized, placebo-controlled trial in West Africa, called PREVAC, that began in 2017.

Exclusive: WHO, Congo eye tighter rules for Ebola care over immunity concerns

Reuters

By Alessandra Prentice, 10/31/19

A woman who worked as a caregiver in the high-risk “red zone” of a treatment center in Beni, may have contracted the Ebola virus a second time and died. The case challenges the accepted medical theory that Ebola survivors are immune to reinfection. She was assigned to work with Ebola patients because of her assumed immunity to the virus. She tested positive for Ebola in July and died before she could be readmitted for treatment. She was pregnant at the time of her death. Medical experts say it could be years before Ebola survivors’ immunity is fully understood. Yet the recent case is sufficiently worrying for health authorities to rethink how care should be provided to Ebola patients across eastern Congo.

WHO and DRC officials have drafted new guidelines that warn that some Ebola survivors may have “incomplete immunity” and advise that additional measures should be taken to protect them from possible reinfection. The draft protocols being discussed by health authorities would bar some survivors from working in the contaminated red zone. These include people whose immune systems may be weaker because they are pregnant or because they have other infections such as HIV or tuberculosis, and those who had low viral loads during their Ebola infection. Ebola survivors, known as “les vainqueurs” – French for “the victorious” – have been at the forefront of treatment, offering vital care, especially to children.

Twitter

Tweet by Helen Branswell– 11/1/19

@HelenBranswell

Supplies of J&J’s #Ebola vaccine arrived in Goma, DRC today in advance of the imminent launch of a 2nd vaccine trial there.

Tweet by Laurie Garrett– 10/31/19

@Laurie_Garrett

This sort of stigma has, tragically, ensued with every #Ebola epidemic. And it continues to play out all over Africa with #HIV and #TB. Stigma makes the job of fighting diseases far more difficult.

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