WINNIPEG, Nov. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Dr. Gregory Taylor, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, announced a $30.5 million investment and further actions to strengthen Canada's domestic preparedness and international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Ebola Medical Countermeasures Research and Development
The Government of Canada is committing $23.5 million to support further research and development of Ebola medical countermeasures – namely Canada's Ebola vaccine and monoclonal antibody treatments. This funding will be used to support clinical trials in Africa and to assist with producing monoclonal antibody treatments for Ebola to assist in the outbreak response.
To support community preparedness the Government of Canada is investing $3 million to support the provinces and territories in the delivery of infection control training and equipment. These funds will be available to support the deployment of the Public Health Agency of Canada's Rapid Response Teams. The Government of Canada is also investing $1 million to deploy additional trained Quarantine Officers at Canadian airports to support existing border measures.
Collaboration with the Provinces and Territories
The Minister and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada regularly discuss Ebola preparedness with their Provincial and Territorial counterparts. All jurisdictions agree that collaboration across all levels of government and the health sector are required in the event of a case of Ebola in Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to meet frequently with the provincial and territorial health authorities to support cross-jurisdictional cooperation and readiness.
Rapid Response Teams
The Public Health Agency of Canada has created five Ebola Rapid Response Teams. These teams would immediately deploy at the request of the Provinces and Territories in the event of a first case of Ebola in Canada. Teams have the training and equipment necessary to work with the province/territory and local health authorities to provide surge capacity and additional resources.
Public Awareness Campaign
An Ebola public awareness campaign will launch in November. The campaign will seek to increase Canadians' knowledge about Ebola and its symptoms and to provide reassurance that reasonable and responsible measures are in place to ensure the protection of all Canadians.
The Government of Canada is also contributing an additional $3 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support international security-related Ebola response activities in the West Africa region. Canada's contribution is specifically supporting essential biosafety and biosecurity measures, including the provision of personal protective equipment. This funding from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada's (DFATD) Global Partnership Program (GPP) is in addition to the $2.6 million previously committed to the WHO to strengthen the field response to the outbreak and to mitigate associated threats to health and security.
Personal Protective Equipment
The final shipment of donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the WHO was sent on Friday, October 31, 2014 and arrived in Conakry, Guinea and Monrovia, Liberia on November 1st. This fulfills our previous commitment to provide over $2 million worth of PPE to frontline healthcare professionals to help stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa.
Mobile Laboratory Capacity
The Public Health Agency of Canada has deployed two mobile laboratories in Sierra Leone to provide rapid laboratory diagnostic support and assess infection control procedures in healthcare settings. One team recently returned from a successful mission and is ready to deploy again, upon request of the World Health Organization.
Protecting the health of Canadians is the Public Health Agency of Canada's greatest priority. The Agency will continue to share information, collaborate and plan with its public health partners to ensure that all levels of government across Canada are well prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a first case of Ebola in Canada.
- There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada.
- Canada has been a world leader in fighting the Ebola virus disease, and continues to contribute to the response to the outbreak in West Africa. In addition to today's announcement, the Government of Canada has committed $65 million to the global efforts to support the health, humanitarian and security interventions deployed to address the spread of the disease.
- To date, 800 vials of Canada's experimental Ebola vaccine have been delivered to the WHO.
- The Government of Canada maintains ownership of the intellectual property associated with the VSV-EBOV vaccine. It has licensed the rights to NewLink Genetics through its wholly owned subsidiary BioProtection Systems to further develop the product for use in humans.
- The Agency developed two of the monoclonal antibodies contained in the Ebola treatment ZMapp. The Agency licensed their two monoclonal antibodies to Defyrus Pharmaceuticals, which sub-licensed them to MappBio Pharmaceuticals.
"My number one priority as Minister of Health is ensuring the health and safety of Canadians. Today we are taking further actions to improve our preparedness for the event of a first case in Canada, and continuing to invest in research and development of vaccines and treatments that will assist in the global outbreak response."
Honourable Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health
"This new funding for research and development for Ebola medical countermeasures will complement other Canadian Ebola preparedness and response activities to ensure that Canada is ready to respond in the event there is a confirmed first case in Canada. The investments further demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that Canada continues to remain cautious and well prepared."
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
SOURCE: Health Canada
For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 957-2983