Blog #2 Recovering Past Roadblocks to Build a Promising Ebola Vaccine
Several scientists have been trying to create the vaccine that has the ability to cure and prevent the Ebola disease. In Dr. Nancy Sullivan’s case, it has been numerous trials and errors for 16 years and she has not found any success. Any time a potential vaccine for Ebola is created, it is tested on patients that are diagnosed with the disease and await the results. There has been a recent push for an Ebola vaccine for fear of another resurgence in West Africa during the rainy season. Dr. Bruce Alyward of the World Health Organization stated, “Waning cases make it more difficult to tell if a vaccine is protective, but the shots will be tested in multiple places and ways, hoping that one of those will give us real data. Even early vaccine attempts made by scientists have failed. The reason for this is because the Ebola virus is very large and infects the cells of the body in an unusual and unique way. Their goal is to create a vaccine powerful enough to produce an immune reaction-response that blocks and binds the Ebola virus. For several years, scientists have ran a myriad of tests on monkeys infected with the virus. In 2000, a vaccine protected four monkeys against the Ebola virus, but the vaccine required several shots over a period of several months. They also had no idea how to create an alternative form of the vaccine that would produce the same results when administered to humans. The vaccine must be useful during Ebola outbreaks as well.
I found it very disheartening that a vaccine for the lethal Ebola disease has yet to be created. There have been so many lives taken by the disease this year alone, and the death toll continues to rise. It is also very important to find a cure because there is an elevated chance of a large global outbreak, in which no one is fully prepared for. I do believe that scientists are very close to a cure for the disease; however, time is running out. The severe outbreak in West Africa places even more pressure on scientists. The task of creating a cure that successfully works on humans will be a difficult one.
February 10, 2015