By Hamza Kyeyune
KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) - Uganda on Thursday received its first batch of Ebola vaccine candidates from the World Health Organization which will be used in a clinical trial.
Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said 1,200 doses had arrived from the US-based Sabin Vaccine Institute. "Today we are happy that we have the first batch, we shall be receiving other doses from Merck and from Oxford," she said.
The WHO will send two more vaccine candidates to Uganda -- the first jointly produced by the University of Oxford and Serum Institute of India, and the second by Merck & Co Inc.
There are currently no licensed vaccines for the Sudan strain of Ebola that is causing the deadly infection in Uganda and the trial is to determine whether any or all of the three are effective in combating the strain.
The health minister will announce the start date of trials.
Health officials have previously said everything was in place for the trials to start and they were only waiting for the doses to arrive.
The East African country has been struggling to contain the highly infectious Ebola since the outbreak was declared in September.
According to the Health Ministry, there are currently no new Ebola cases. The country is counting down toward 42 straight days without any new Ebola cases reported. When that period ends on Jan. 10, it will be declared Ebola-free.
So far, 56 deaths have been reported in the East African nation due to Ebola.