13.06.2015 Feature Article

May Be, Ghanaians Are Ready For Mass Immunization Of An Ebola Vaccine That Was Never Tried On Humans

May Be, Ghanaians Are Ready For Mass Immunization Of An Ebola Vaccine That Was Never Tried On Humans
LISTEN JUN 13, 2015

Am wondering how it will still look like if Measles vaccines were never discovered. Am also wondering again how many lives of precious Ghanaians would have been lost to Yellow fever Measles and all other vaccine preventable diseases if all their respective vaccines were never discovered.

Currently the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in Ghana has eight vaccines on it's routine immunization schedule for children under five and pregnant women. There is no denying fact that all these life saving vaccines went through series of test before receiving an approval from the WHO and other stakeholders in order to be used on Humans. But the question is;

Were these vaccines tested on only chimpanzees and guinea pigs? Would Ghana have accepted these vaccines if they were never passed through the appropriate clinical trials? Of course not.

Yes! These routine vaccines are different from the Ebola trial vaccine. Also the Ebola virus has perfectly demonstrated it's abilities when it comes to human life taking, so it is no surprise when fear grips the human race at the mention of just it's name...But should we be overwhelmed by the fear to forget about finding an everlasting solution to this devastating disease? Am sure a big No will be the perfect answer.

A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular disease . A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it, and keep a record of it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters.

So if the above statements explains what a vaccine is, then i see no panic in the trial of the Ebola vaccine in this country.

With the Ebola vaccine being no exemption, all vaccines are passed through what we call;

1.. Pre-clinical development. It is a research carried out in lab assays and on animals.

2.. . Clinical development. It is when the vaccine is first tested in humans. Even the clinical development has to pass through four phases over several years period. From the first human trials and far beyond its introduction.

So clearly, the call for the vaccine to be tried on Chimpanzees and Guinea pigs demonstrate clear stance of ignorance on part of those who are agitating over the risk it poses to the country.

So many social groups have branded the trials as needles experiment and are even calling for vaccines for malaria, cholera and HIV but not Ebola.

Does that mean any other vaccine trial will be accepted as far as it not related to Ebola?

Ghana is not the only country where Ebola vaccines trials are being carried out. Four Africa countries namely Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya are contributing a total of 70 volunteers into an African pool for the clinical trials. So if every country should reject the trials because of fear of an outbreak, then how far are we ready to demonstrate that we are ready to find permanent solution to this deadly disease?

Unless of course all the 11,150 people including over 500 health workers who died during the recent outbreak means nothing to us. May be we support another mass grave exercise by the disease in case there is another outbreak.

We have well left behind us the era when we only listen to reply. We are in times where understanding should be our benchmark when it comes to delicate incidents like this. We must realize that the Ebola disease is closer to Ghana than the UK or USA and if this vaccine should ever be found, Ghana will go down the pecking order of countries favoured to get vaccine in case of an outbreak even though we are praying not to get one.

I wouldn't want to talk about the packages for the volunteers but i think the phone aspect is in order as far as communication is concern. Let us not allow emotions to always decide our sense of judgement because "Every extreme emotional state is blinding".

The time to support this trial is now or else we must embrace ourselves for a future mass vaccination of an Ebola vaccine that was never tried on human beings.

Isaac Ackah

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