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PUBLIC SENSITIZED ON EBOLA VACCINE TRIAL

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), Prof. Fred Binka has stressed that the current outbreak of Ebola is not over and is still having a devastating effect in part of West Africa.  He has consequently emphasized the need for Ghana to work with its Partners to accelerate the development of an effective vaccine not only to stop the current Ebola epidemic but protect Ghanaians and others from future outbreaks.  Prof. Binka was speaking at a Public Sensitization Programme on a Phase II Clinical Trial of a promising Ebola Vaccine labeled ChAd3-EBO-Z by the Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) from August this year in the Kintampo North Municipality and Kintampo South Districts of Bono-Ahafo.  The programme was organised due to a directive from the Ministry of Health calling for effective education of the Public on the Ebola Vaccine Trial to enable them understand its importance and the need to support it. The current Ebola Outbreak in West Africa and other parts of the world has so far recorded an unprecedented 25000 cases and over 10000 deaths.  The outbreak according to experts was exacerbated by the lack of licensed drugs and vaccines and although it has slowed, one missed infection could threaten all the progress made.  It’s in a bid to contribute towards the development of an effective vaccine to protect people from future outbreaks that Ghana has linked up with other Countries and two Pharmaceutical firms, Glaxo Smithkline (GSK) and Johnson and Johnson, in the development of an Ebola Vaccine.  In attendance at the Briefing  were representatives of the Institutions playing roles in the upcoming trials as well members of the public from various backgrounds.  Addressing the gathering the Vice Chancellor of UHAS, Prof. Binka regretted the furore that greeted news of the upcoming trials, particularly, the Phase I scheduled for the Volta Region and stressed that there is nothing to fear.  He said on the contrary Ghanaians are witnesses to the effectiveness of vaccines in the control and eradication of other diseases and must rather support the development of a vaccine for a dreaded disease like Ebola.  Representatives of other bodies took turns to brief the gathering on steps being taken to ensure a successful Clinical Trial of the Ebola Candidate Vaccine.  Among them was the Head of the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR), Prof. Kwadwo Koram.  He took the opportunity to assuage the fears of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and Parliament as well as all with similar fears that the upcoming trial does not involve the use of the Ebola Virus but rather an Ebola Vaccine Candidate which is entirely different from the Virus.  An Official of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs. Yvonne Adu Boahene and a Member of the Ghana Health Service Ethics Review Committee, Dr. Ama Edwin also took turns to brief the audience on steps their Outfits are taking to guarantee problem free trials.  A lively Questionand Answer session formed part of the sensitization effort.  In response to a question, Prof Binka and Prof. Koram took the Media to task for a number of inaccurate reports about the upcoming trial which heightened fear about it among the Public.

Source:Biiya Mukusah Ali/http://newspaper.developghana.com/

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