Russian-based aluminum producer UC RUSAL recently co-organized a roundtable discussion, “Ebola vaccine from Russia: the first lessons and outlook into the future.” Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova and Head of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) Anna Popova joined Rusal President Oleg Deripaska at the event. Via a teleconference facility, the Guinean President Alpha Conde addressed President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the entire world to express his appreciation.
Skvortsova noted that an Ebola vaccine has been developed in Russia under a directive from Putin and it has obtained Russian state registration. In addition, the Russian Federation has allocated financing for “field trials” of the new vaccine. More than 2,000 citizens of the Republic of Guinea will be vaccinated at the first stage with trials planned at the Research and Clinical Diagnostics Centre for Epidemiological and Microbiological Studies, founded by Rusal in Guinea.
Rusal has been operating in Guinea for more than 10 years and is the largest foreign employer in the country. The company invested $10 million in a specialized center for the treatment of Ebola in Kindia.
Once the disease is eliminated, the center can act as a regular medical center for the treatment of other infectious diseases, according to the company. It provides specialist diagnostics, treatment and prevention of infectious and other dangerous diseases, and is one of the most advanced medical centers to combat viral diseases in West Africa. The premises include an infection hospital, a provisional hospital, a mobile laboratory, and a blood and plasma transfusion department with a laboratory.
During the initial outbreak of the epidemic, RUSAL organized the delivery of medication to Guinea and fully staffed the center with medical specialists. “There were no cases of infection amongst the specialists or the support team from Russia who worked at the hospital, yet the rate of infection amongst the Guinean medical specialists was unfortunately very high,” Popova said.
All the roundtable participants noted the importance of collaborative joint decisions at an international level in order to tackle the most complicated problems. “Only by governments responding promptly and working together with nongovernmental organizations and businesses can such complicated problems be resolved,” Deripaska said.