After receiving FDA approval for the Ebola vaccine Ervebo in 2019, Merck is poised to eradicate the deadly virus. The process began six years ago, when Merck licensed the treatment from New Link Genetics and set to work developing it and “showing that it was generally safe and effective,” says Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Research Laboratories. Merck figured out how to scale manufacturing of the inoculation, which consists of a genetically engineered live virus that triggers an immune response, and delivered more than 250,000 doses to the Democratic Republic of Congo (site of the most recent outbreak). It reduced mortality by at least 88% among people exposed to the virus.
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A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.