Blog #9: CDC: Ebola vaccine trials a go in West Africa
Ebola remains a concern in West Africa. Despite, the significant decrease in reported cases and deaths caused by the virus, the threat still looms. The West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia are still at risk of another Ebola outbreak as they are entering the rainy season, which could refuel the virus. West Africa and the United States remain in partnership; in fact, President Obama is expected to meet the presidents of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia on the 15th of April to discuss the progress of the outbreak as well as any further efforts that may be of assistance to these countries. Recently, the US and the African Union signed an agreement to create the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The West African Ebola epidemic reaffirmed the need for a public health institute to support African ministries of health and other health agencies in their efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to any disease outbreak," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden stated. Currently, trials are underway in Sierra Leone to test a possible vaccine for Ebola. Approximately 6 thousand individuals will participate in the study. Those who partake will receive the vaccine and will be closely monitored for the next 6 months. The goal of the CDC is to study and observe the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. “We don’t know whether this vaccine will be the Ebola prevention tool we’re all eager for, but we hope that what we learn from the vaccine study will help us save lives during this and future Ebola outbreaks,” said Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
This is great news for West Africa. Foreign countries, such as the US, have not completely abandoned West Africa and continue to offer their support. Creating a CDC in Africa is extremely beneficial for the continent, especially for the countries that were devastated by the Ebola outbreak. They can now closely research and study diseases that plague the continent such as Ebola, Malaria, etc and perhaps find cures and vaccines to prevent future breakouts.
April 14, 2015