U.S. agency offers legal immunity to Ebola vaccine makers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has offered liability protections to drug-makers rushing to develop Ebola vaccines and urged other countries to follow suit.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell made the announcement as part of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act in a move aimed at encouraging the development and availability of experimental Ebola vaccines.
This declaration provides immunity under U.S. law against legal claims related to the manufacturing, testing, development, distribution, and administration of three vaccines for the Ebola virus. However, this declaration does not provide immunity for a claim brought in a court outside the United States.

The United States has offered similar protections to vaccine makers to encourage the development of childhood vaccines.

Burwell added that other countries should follow suit by enacting similar liability protections.

“As a global community, we must ensure that legitimate concerns about liability do not hold back the possibility of developing an Ebola vaccine, an essential strategy in our global response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa,” she said.

Drug companies and scientists are trying their best to develop an effective vaccine to help fight the worst Ebola outbreak on record..
Earlier this month, scientists at Oxford University started the first clinical trials of an experimental Ebola vaccine being developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Other vaccine developers include Johnson & Johnson , Merck and NewLink Genetics Corp and Denmark's Bavarian Nordic, which is developing a booster shot to help improve the effectiveness of some of the vaccines.

 

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