US drug maker Merck & Co Inc has received approval from the European Commission to market its Ebola vaccine, less than a month after a European medicines panel backed the first-ever vaccine against the deadly virus.
The vaccine, Ervebo, is approved for individuals aged 18 years and older and has already been used under emergency guidelines to try to protect against the spread of a deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The shot is also being reviewed by US health regulators and a decision is expected in the first quarter of next year.
The Ebola virus causes haemorrhagic fever and spreads from person to person through direct contact with body fluids. It kills around half of those it infects.
Since the middle of last year, the Congo Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,100 people, making it the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history, after the 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa that killed more than 11 300.
“The EU is supporting international efforts to combat Ebola on all fronts, from vaccine development to delivering humanitarian aid on the ground,” EU Ebola Coordinator Christos Stylianides says in a statement.
Merck has said its priority was to get regulatory approval of its Ervebo manufacturing site in Germany so that licensed supply of the vaccine “can be used to support global public health preparedness”.