UPDATE 2-WHO urges use of survivors' serum against Ebola, backs vaccine trials

Fri Sep 5, 2014 2:21pm EDT
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* WHO issues recommendations of Ebola expert meeting

* Gives green light for using serum from Ebola survivors

* Vaccines may be available after safety trials in Nov.

* Health care workers are priority for vaccines, WHO says (Adds quotes, WHO statement)

By Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles

GENEVA, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday blood-derived products and serum from survivors may be used to treat Ebola virus immediately and two vaccines could be available for health workers by year-end.

Existing supplies of all experimental medicines are limited and will not be sufficient for months to come, while the outlook for vaccine supplies looks "slightly better", the WHO said in a statement after two-day talks attended by nearly 200 experts.

But good clinical care, rigorous infection prevention and control measures, and the tracing of people who have been exposed remain crucial for ending an epidemic that has killed at least 2,097 in West Africa since March, the U.N. agency said.

"There is a real opportunity that blood-derived products can be used now. This can be very effective in terms of treating patients," WHO assistant director-general Marie-Paule Kieny told a news conference in Geneva.   Continued...