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UN lacks resources to defeat Ebola

But new vaccines show ‘promise’

Jo Carlowe

Thursday, 06 November 2014

The head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response has warned that he does not yet have the resources to defeat Ebola. 

Speaking at the UN headquarters for Ebola response in Ghana, at the end of a regional tour, Anthony Banbury, head of UNMEER, has warned against: “even for a second [thinking] that everything is okay,” and has emphasised the need to stay vigilant.

“As long as there is one case of Ebola in any country, it is a threat not only to that country, it is a threat to the region and to the world,” he said.

Mr Banbury, whose tour has also taken him to the countries hardest hit by Ebola in West Africa – Guinea and Sierra Leone, is expected to brief the Security Council as well as the General Assembly when he returns to UN Headquarters in New York next week.

Meanwhile, in Geneva, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said two vaccines are showing promising possibilities.

Volunteers have been recruited for the ‘ChAd3’ vaccine, recruited by the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The second vaccine - Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (“VSV”) was still waiting for Swiss medical approval before volunteers could be recruited and clinical trials commence at Geneva University Hospital.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said the international community’s aim continued to be to reach the 70-70-60 target established by UNMEER and WHO, which entails isolating and treating 70% of suspected Ebola cases in West Africa and safely burying 70% of the dead within 60 days (by 1 December).

Ms Chaib said the United Kingdom and the United States are currently building new laboratories in Guinea and Sierra Leone, which would be a huge help in confirming Ebola cases.

According to the WHO, the confirmed death toll is now 4,818.

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