Innovation

Taking on Ebola

How science and innovation fuel our efforts to help combat a deadly disease

September 22, 2021

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Patients are our purpose. That’s why we pursue the best science in our inventions and everything we do. Every breakthrough we create has the potential to build a healthier, more hopeful future for people everywhere.

Our company is a health care leader in the fight against Ebola. Along with external collaborators from all sectors, our scientists are at the forefront of the response to outbreaks of this deadly disease as we continue to address this global health challenge. Ebola Zaire virus has had a devastating impact on the world and has proved itself to be a deadly and contagious disease, with a survival rate of 50%.

MSD plays an important role in discovering and developing innovative medicines and vaccines to treat and help prevent infectious diseases. Global public health preparedness against future Ebola outbreaks requires advanced planning, system readiness for rapid deployment and collaboration and partnership between public and private entities around the world. Our partnerships with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health partners around the globe are a crucial component of our commitment to helping save and improve lives.

“It’s something that we take incredibly seriously and with a great sense of urgency to make sure that we do everything we can to support the teams on the front lines,” says Beth-Ann Coller, distinguished scientist, clinical research, MSD Vaccines.

“Our team works with a 24-7 mentality to help tackle these outbreaks.”

Beth-Ann Coller

Safeguarding the future

In 2021, MSD established an agreement with UNICEF to create the world’s first global Ebola stockpile, the result of breakthrough innovation and collaboration with four leading international health and humanitarian organizations across the world. The global stockpile will offer a critical, rapid-response tool to help combat future outbreaks of this highly contagious illness that is endemic in parts of Central and West Africa.

“It has been our honor to collaborate with WHO, Gavi, UNICEF, the U.S. government and many others in getting to this point,” says John Markels, Ph.D., president of MSD Vaccines. “While there remains important work ahead, the stockpile is a new and powerful tool in supporting future outbreak preparedness and response efforts. This historic milestone demonstrates what’s possible when partners come together to pursue a common purpose.”

doctor wearing a protective suit for Ebola

This level of collaboration continues to be needed for Ebola and other diseases. We remain committed to working in collaboration with WHO and other global and local health partners to support current and future outbreak response efforts.

As seen in the most recent suspected outbreak in Côte d’Ivoire declared in August 2021, our work continues. We will maintain our efforts for as long as needed.

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doctor wearing protective suit