FDA holds meeting on Ebola vaccination trials

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is set to hold a crunch meeting Wednesday with the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences to discuss concerns over proposed Ebola vaccination trials in Ghana.

“The meeting is not to give approval; that prerogative belongs to FDA,” a highly placed government source disclosed to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra on Tuesday.

“A definite decision on the proposed trials is yet to be made,” it said.

Reacting to concerns raised by a section of Ghanaians over media reports that an Ebola vaccine trial had been scheduled to take place in parts of Ghana, the source said the FDA could only give approval after testing the efficacy and possible side effects of the vaccine.

“The FDA has not granted approval yet. That must be made clear to all Ghanaians,” it noted in a terse response to the Daily Graphic.

There are reports of pending Ebola vaccination trials for selected communities in Ghana.

The reports say volunteers are to be given GH¢200 each, together with cellular phones.

But the reports have been met with strict opposition from Ghanaians and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

For instance, the Coalition for Ghana’s Independence Now (CGIN) has said it is disenchanted that the government could consider allowing its citizens to be used for an Ebola vaccine trial.

Media reports indicate that the University of Health and Allied Sciences was spearheading the project, which is expected to take off in Hohoe in the Volta Region.

The FDA is on record to have confirmed that it is testing the vaccine before it could approve of the trials.

Officials have already approached students of the Hohoe Midwifery Training School to volunteer for the trial.

A statement issued by the CGIN said: “We want to say, without fear or favour, that Ebola is not just a disease but rather a well-planned business. A business where people have created an artificial problem and now looking for a market to sell the solution and we are telling Ghanaians beforehand that there is and will be no way by which Ghana can go through this Ebola virus human experiment without Ebola being spread country wide.

“We also would want Ghanaians to know that, since there is no single case of Ebola or patient in Ghana, healthy people would have to be infected with the Ebola virus before the said vaccine is administered to them for a gamble.

“It is, therefore, from the above illogical scenario that we consider the intended human experimentation of Ebola in Ghana as criminal, a human rights abuse, thievery and a total disrespect of Ghanaians as human beings.”

It added: “The CGIN is not crying wolf when there is none, but we are guided by history, logic and critical thinking and our responsibility as citizens to play our role of national security.

“Ebola outbreak, which is 100 percent sure to happen in Ghana should this human trials be allowed to go on, will be the greatest national security threat our country will ever face. The manufacturers of the so-called Ebola vaccine will look on till a larger number of Ghanaians are killed by the disease here in Ghana before the vaccine will be released and this will happen to make the government buy the vaccine at any price.”

Ebola is an infectious and generally fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding, spread through contact with infected body fluids by a virus whose normal host species is unknown.

It has so far claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria.


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