Comments from GSK have emerged today suggesting that an Ebola vaccine will be 'too late' to have an impact on the current Ebola outbreak. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which is at the forefront of responding to the epidemic in West Africa, is dismayed by these comments, given the unpredictability of the outbreak and the uncertainty over how long it could last. A vaccine could be the tipping point in this outbreak, and urgent development, in parallel with scaling up supply, could prove significant in saving lives, both in this outbreak and in future ones.
Please find below reactive quote from MSF in response to GSK's comments:
“To hear GSK state that an Ebola vaccine will come ‘too late’ for this outbreak is frankly disappointing. While we recognise and appreciate the vastly accelerated development of GSK’s Ebola vaccine, efforts need to go further as we believe a vaccine could be important in curbing this outbreak as well as preventing and controlling Ebola in the future.
“Nobody knows how long this outbreak will last for; our patients, front-line workers, and people across West Africa can’t afford to hear ‘it’s too late’.
“The situation on the ground is disastrous; this is a crisis. A vaccine could be the tipping point, but we need GSK to show leadership by making a bold decision now and take on some risk in driving through a process of accelerating development in parallel with the scale-up of supply.
“This outbreak cannot afford delays; the impact on the number of people who will suffer and die from Ebola could be significant. Countries need to play their role as well in providing incentives and facilitating the rapid development of a vaccine. We encourage GSK as well as all other vaccine developers to pull out all the stops and be ambitious in getting a safe and effective vaccine out to West Africa with all possible speed.”
- Dr Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign