Via The Globe and Mail, which is running it at the top of today's front page: Canada at forefront of battle against Ebola in West Africa. Excerpt:
As Canada prepares to ship out as many as 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine, it is also preparing to hand off to international medical experts the gut-wrenching decisions about who in West Africa will receive an injection that could protect against the deadly virus – or cause unanticipated and dangerous side effects.
Canada is the first country to offer a potential treatment or vaccine that could be distributed on a wide scale in a region ravaged by the worst Ebola outbreak in history, putting this country’s research at the centre of a larger worldwide scramble to make available Ebola drugs that have, until now, been tested almost exclusively on animals and produced only in tiny batches.
“There’s a lot of challenges going forward with this,” said Gary Kobinger, the chief of special pathogens at Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory and the scientist who led the development of the vaccine. “I think this [releasing the vaccine] was a very important step and a crucial step to establish the foundation of a possible use.”
Dr. Kobinger and his colleagues at the Winnipeg lab also developed two of the three mono-clonol antibodies that form the basis of an experimental Ebola treatment known as ZMapp, which received widespread scrutiny after limited doses were offered to two U.S. health-care workers and a Spanish priest, but not to Africans.
Doctors Without Borders confirmed on Wednesday that in late July, its team in Sierra Leone agonized over whether to offer a single available dose of an untested treatment – believed to be ZMapp – to a top local doctor who later died of the virus.
That single dose was brought to Sierra Leone by a team from the Winnipeg lab, the aid organization said, with the intention of testing it for heat-sensitivity, not injecting it into an ill patient.