FDA approves vaccine for Ebola clinical trials

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has approved a vaccine, namely the Johnson Ebola vaccine for clinical trials as part of international effort to find a cure to deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

A second vaccine, the GSK vaccine, is currently being considered for approval.

This information was contained in a report of the Parliamentary Committee on Health on the “Ebola Vaccination Trials in the Country”, presented to the plenary in Accra on Thursday.

The Committee, cognisant of the fact that approval has been given in order for the trial to be carried out, recommended to the House to urge the Minister for Health to intensify education on the clinical trials.

Presenting the Report, presented by Dr Richard Winfred Anane, Ranking Member of the Committee noted that after interaction with key stakeholders, the Committee was persuaded that there had not been Ebola clinical trial going on in the country.

“The Committee was convinced that the vaccine approved for the clinical trial is safe and that most of the concerns about the vaccine can only be answered after the clinical trials have been taken,” the Report noted.

It added: “Indeed, it is because of these concerns that this scientific exercise is being take with the view of coming out with a cure for the dreaded EVD. The trials are to be conducted with the strictest adherence to national regulations and international standards. There is a constant review mechanism both at the national and international level.”

The report noted the proximity of Ghana to Ebola affected nations, which makes it susceptible to an EVD, and cautioned that in the event of any outbreak, the impact could be disastrous.

“There is therefore the need for the country to hold itself in readiness, especially if it can help find a cure in any eventuality,” is said.

The Health Committee of Parliament generated the report upon a referral by the Speaker, following a statement made by Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, MP for Ho West, on behalf of the Volta Regional Caucus, and a statement by the Minister of Health on the on-going Ebola trials in Ghana.

The Committee reported that information from the Health Minister, which he earlier gave Parliament, was that “no Ebola Clinical a trial was being carried out in the country as the processes towards undertaking the proposed clinical trials had been suspended.

“… A directive for public education to be first done to disabuse the minds of the public was not obeyed. It was for this reason that the processes towards the trial had to be suspended to ensure that more public education is carried out.”

Among the groups that the Committee had to interact with during the consultations were the FDA, Ghana Health Service Ethics Review Committee and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. GNA

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