First Ebola Vaccine Granted Conditional Approval

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First Ebola Vaccine Granted Conditional Approval
The European Commission has approved marketing of the first Ebola vaccine, marking a major breakthrough in preventing the deadly disease.
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On Monday, U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck and Co. received approval from the European Commission to market the first Ebola vaccine.

The vaccine, known as Ervebo, is approved for people 18 or older and is about 97.5% effective, according to the World Health Organization.

The Ebola virus can have symptoms including fever, aches and pains, diarrhea, vomiting and unexplained hemorrhaging. It spreads easily from person to person through direct contact with bodily fluids. 

This is a major breakthrough in preventing exposure to the deadly virus, which kills about half of people who are infected. It has killed at least 13,000 people in Africa since 2013.

Kenneth Frazier, Merck's CEO, said: "The European Commission's marketing authorization of Ervebo is the result of an unprecedented collaboration for which the entire world should be proud. It is a historic milestone and a testament to the power of science."

Merck has already submitted more than 250,000 doses, which are being used under emergency guidelines for the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As of Tuesday, there were over 3,000 confirmed cases in Congo and more than 2,100 people have died. That makes it the largest outbreak since the one that killed 11,000 people between 2013 and 2016.