A World Health Organization worker prepares to administer a vaccination during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an Ebola outbreak in the port city of Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 21, 2018. (Photo: VCG)
The world's first ever Ebola vaccine won approval from the European Commission (EC) on Monday to be marketed in the bloc after more than two decades of research.
US drugmaker Merck received approval from the EC 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 and protect against the spread of a deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The shot is also being reviewed by U.S. health regulators and a decision is expected in the first quarter of next year.
The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and spreads from person to person through direct contact with bodily 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. This makes 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 said in a statement dated November 10.
Merck has said that its priority was to get regulatory approval of its Ervebo manufacturing site in Germany so that a licensed supply of the vaccine "can be used to support global public health preparedness."