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Canada to donate experimental Ebola vaccine to African outbreak response

People sit near a poster with a government message against Ebola, at the health minister’s office in Abidjan August 11, 2014.

Luc Gnago/Reuters

The Public Health Agency of Canada is going to donate a made-in-Canada experimental Ebola vaccine to the West African outbreak response.

The deputy head of the agency says the country sees the vaccine as a global resource and is in talks with international partners about how best to use the finite number of doses.

Dr. Gregory Taylor estimates that Canada has 1,500 doses of the vaccine, which hasn't yet been tested in people.

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Taylor says the agency needs to hold on to some of those doses for small studies and in case an imported Ebola cases arrives in a Canadian hospital.

He estimates that between 800 and 1,000 doses of vaccine could be sent abroad for use.

He cautions, though, that as no human studies have been done with the vaccine yet, it's not clear how much will be needed to protect a person, so those numbers could change.

The news comes after the World Health Organization said earlier Tuesday that a panel of experts advised it that it would be ethical to use untested drugs and vaccines in the outbreak, which is several times larger than any previous outbreak.

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