London: The vaccine alliance GAVI announced it would invest USD 178 million to create a global stockpile of about 500,000 Ebola vaccines, a move health officials say could help prevent future outbreaks from spiraling out of control. GAVI is a public-private partnership that includes the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank, among others.
The funding announcement was made after a meeting of GAVI’s board in New Delhi.
Since the latest outbreak in Congo was identified last August, health officials have immunised more than 255, 000 people with a recently licensed vaccine made by Merck.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chair of Gavi’s board, called the creation of the Ebola vaccine stockpile a “historic milestone in humanity’s fight against this horrific disease”.