Dec. 1st 2014
WHAT SHOULD BE THE MAIN CONCERNS OF THE MEDICAL RESEARCHERS IN THEIR QUEST FOR AN EBOLA CURE?
More than 4,000 people have died from Ebola, the majority of them in Western Africa in places such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. There have been multiple Ebola scares in the United States over the past few months. On Wednesday, October 15th, President Barack Obama finally spoke out about the Ebola virus. NBC news reported that Obama stated "I want people to understand that the dangers of you contracting Ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak in this country are extraordinary low, but we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government.” Although Obama said that, it is difficult to believe considering a scientist from the University of Bern stated that if the disease kept spreading the way it has been in Liberia, there will be at least 100,000 deaths by the beginning of December. Now that we see how serious this disease is, we need to come together and figure out a way to stop it from spreading. The question we need answered is how the United States is going to make sure that Ebola does not spread any further. We all know is no cure for Ebola. We must educate our citizens and stop the disease all together. First, people must learn the possible ways to contract the disease. Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, objects that have been contaminated with the disease and infected animals. Ebola is not spread through the air or water. Even though it looks like researchers are not doing anything, they actually are. Testing and thorough clinical trials are fundamental to good medical drugs and when it comes to the Ebola virus its very hard to get a vaccine without further testing. So what's stopping them to stop Ebola? To begin with, antiviral therapy is an especially challenging field compared to bacterial diseases, because viruses have fewer targets for treatment. And they evolve quickly. If a vaccine is developed today that works, it might not make a dent in future outbreaks. And with five known species of Ebola virus, there's plenty of room for further viral evolution. Derek Gatherer, a bioinformatics researcher at Lancaster University in the U.K. told fox news "There's only a handful of places in the world where you can actually do Ebola experimentation". For the ethical side, it all comes down to human testing. Paul Hunger, professor of Health Protection at the University of East Anglia, broke down both arguments for the Huffington Post: As a practicing clinician, if I was given the option to help people with a drug that isn't proven, but has been shown to have at least some effect, it's unethical not to give it to them. But in the midst of such a huge epidemic, one could even argue that doing a blind controlled trial would be unethical, because if you give a placebo to some people, who will most likely die, then you are depriving them of a drug that could cure them, something that could save their life. In addition, the pharmaceutical companies realistically are not going to create a vaccine if they know they are not going to make any profit out of it; and this has now become an economic issue (un-ethical). For now, we must make sure that all protective gear is worn (Biosafety level 4) properly and no skin is exposed to the disease. Works Cited
"20,000 cases or 100,000? How researchers predict Ebola’s spread." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/09/08/20000-cases-or-100000-how-researchers-predict-ebolas-spread/>. Five type of Ebola
“For the ethical side”