The World Health Organization declared that it had prequalified an Ebola vaccine for the first time and hailed it as a ‘historic step’ for licensing, access and roll-out of the medicine in the countries that were on the risk of the outbreak of the virus.

Prequalification means that medicine meets WHO standards for quality and safety for use by people. Previously the European Commission had allowed the release of an injectable vaccine Ervebo which had been made by US laboratory Merck Shape and Dohme (MSD) after the European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine on 18th October.

According to WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus this is a very important step in the prevention of the outbreak which first broke out in some of the African countries and requires immediate attention. With the launch of this vaccine, Ebola can be stopped from becoming a world endemic and the people suffering from the disease can be cured and treated.

Even five years ago there was no vaccine or medicine to contain and check the disease. WHO said that after it conducted tests the vaccine has been able to fight the virus without any side-effects and thus can be used for the treatment of the disease.

WHO said that the licensing and other formalities would take time and people would get access to the vaccine since the middle of next year.  It further said that it had accelerated its work of prequalifying the vaccine as soon as all the information became available and began the reviewing process for safety and other parameters.

Since the current epidemic, there have been reports of more than 2190 people who had died due to the disease. The total number of cases reported so far has been around 3290. The disease first broke out in the African country of DR Congo.