When an Ebola outbreak in West Africa alarmed everyone, many scientists and researchers around the world scurried to look for a cure and a vaccine for this oftentimes fatal disease. Fortunately, an Ebola vaccine is now in its final stages of trial and it is super effective.
Ebola Virus: In Depth
In 2014, the Ebola virus epidemic swept across West Africa in its biggest and most complex outbreak. However, it was not the first time for the disease to be discovered.
The Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, first made its appearance simultaneously in 1976. The epidemic occurred in remote areas in Nzara, South Sudan and a village in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo that is near the Ebola river which is where the virus got its name.
Humans initially contract the virus from close contact with secretions, blood, organs and bodily fluids of animals infected with the virus. This usually happens when the people get in closeness with ill or dead animals such as monkeys, porcupines, gorillas, chimpanzees, forest antelope and fruits bats that are known as natural Ebola virus host.
The contagious virus then transfers from person to person through direct contact with the same mentioned fluids with infected people. Materials like clothing and bedding can easily transfer the virus as well thus many health workers got infected with EVD. Additionally, even though a person is dead, the virus on their body is still infectious.
In the West Africa outbreak, over 10,000 people have lost their lives to the virus. Meanwhile, the number of reported cases is doubled and it is worrying since EVD is severely fatal especially when untreated.
Promising and Super Effective Ebola Vaccine
The scientists developed the vaccine hurriedly after the outbreak. And because the trials were highly successful and proven to be safe and effective to use, they were stopped early.
In the study published in Lancet, trials with the Ebola vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV showed 100 percent success rate with no cases of EVD reported for all the Guinean participants vaccinated. With that, everyone was immediately immunized with it.
Wellcome Trust’s Jeremy Farrar told The Guardian that if only the EVD vaccine was available before, thousands of lives could have been saved. Now they are trying to get ahead with “diagnostics, drugs and vaccines” for health threats in the future.
Reportedly, the licensing of the Ebola vaccine is fast-tracked by the pharmaceutical firm Merck and Co. This protection from the severe disease is truly gladly received as prevention is, as always, better than cure.