Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed today his country had developed a vaccine for the Ebola virus which has killed thousands of people in west Africa.
But Putin, who is famed for his talent for headline-grabbing announcements, did not give any name for the vaccine, nor did he say how it worked, who was developing it or give details of any trials.
“We have good news,” Putin was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency. “We have registered a drug against Ebola, which after the corresponding tests has been shown to be highly effective, more effective than the drugs used worldwide up to now.” To date no approved vaccine or treatment for Ebola exists and the UN’s World Health Organization has authorised the fast-track development of drugs.
The pharmaceutical scramble sparked by the two-year Ebola crisis — which killed more than 11,000 people in west Africa — has yielded several promising vaccine candidates but none has yet been tested in general, non-infected populations — the gold standard for proving efficacy.
Similarly, none of the many potential treatments under investigation has been shown to work.
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said at a government meeting with Putin that Russia has developed a vaccine that was “unique and has no equivalents in the world”.
In October 2014, Skvortsova said Russia expected to produce three Ebola vaccines within the following six months, and that one was ready for a clinical trial.
The Ebola epidemic is due to be declared over on tomorrow with Liberia expecting the all-clear.