Trial Ebola Vaccine, 100% Success rate

Recently, there was a trial conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Guinea for rVSV-ZEBOV, a trial vaccine for Ebola, which showed a 100-percent protection rate. An estimate of 5,837 individuals were given the vaccine, none contracted the virus 10 days or more after receiving the vaccination. In contrast to the 23 Ebola cases that developed in the control group that is not vaccinated during the same period, according to reports.

The development of the vaccine comes after the huge Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It is one of nine vaccines listed by WHO that are currently on clinical trial. Due to the great success of rVSV-ZEBOV, the WHO said that the vaccine could be available for mass use come 2018.

With financial backing from GAVI, a public private vaccine alliance, the pharmaceutical producer Merck committed to making 300,000 doses of the vaccine available for emergency use should a future outbreak occur while the vaccine is awaiting approval.

The quick response of the international community in developing and testing trial vaccines demonstrates the potential to streamline and decrease the response time for lessen the severity of future epidemics.

The WHO also hopes that the rVSV-ZEBOV trial will serve as a model for handling future global outbreaks, changing the response to epidemics from an approach that has been reactionary to one that is preventative. (DeMarco et al., 2017)

Source: DeMarco, J., Payne, E., Wittet, A., Barr, K., Ahern, A., Furbank, L., Hayes, M., Eisenstadt, A. and Nierenberg, D. (2017) Successful Ebola vaccine could shape the future of epidemic prevention – food tank. Available at: https://foodtank.com/news/2017/02/ebola-vaccine-future-of-epidemic-prevention/ (Accessed: 5 February 2017).

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Long Term Effect Of Ebola

Post-Ebola effects include eye infections (with several cases of victims becoming blind), 2 cases of people becoming deaf, some suffered joint and muscle pain, had headaches, stomachaches and even symptoms of depression.

There were also studies that revealed that Ebola virus can remain in the semen of infected men for 18 months or longer, raising the dangers of sexual transmission. The test was conducted on 10 male survivors who gave semen samples, which tested positive for Ebola virus—one of them a full 18 months after falling sick. Researchers are still unsure how long the virus is about to stay at the semen.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), transmission of the Ebola virus from men to women via sex is a strong possibility, but as yet unproven. (2017, 2011)

 

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Sources: 2017 (2011) Ebola’s long-term effects revealed. Available at: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-01-ebola-long-term-effects-revealed.html (Accessed: 5 February 2017).

Secret Hideout of Ebola

To prevent any Ebola outbreaks from occurring in the future, finding the place it is still lurking is essential. Ebola is a zoonotic disease, hence, it can spread between animals and humans. Ebola are found in a long term host, a quiet refuge for Ebola. These species are called the reservoir species. Hence, there will always be a chance where Ebola affects human again.

Searches have been done in the forested parts of Africa, the home of a number of possible reservoirs species. Bats was shortlisted as one of the more possible reservoir species. Bats lives around humans and can carry Ebola infection without symptoms. Based on research that has tested a wide variety of small mammals, bats, primates, insects and amphibians, several species of fruit bat have emerged as possible candidates.

Some researchers, like Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, are working with  evidence that points to the insectivorous bat Mops condylurus. The first case of the 2014 Ebola epidemic was a 2 year old boy in Guinea who had spent time inside a large hollow cola tree near his house before falling ill. The tree is home for these bats. The boy eventually died in December 2013. By March, officials were raising awareness about the outbreak. Unfortunately, by the time researchers arrived in April to examine the tree and its inhabitants, it had been burned down.

They are also people who do not believe that bats are not the reservoir species and searched for other possible targets. Virologist Jens Kuhn of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, told Nature that he thinks bats live much too close to humans: if they were the reservoir, it would be curious that there have been so few cases of Ebola since the discovery of the virus 40 years ago. He believes that insects or fungi could be responsible. He believes that Ebola will be found in a “strange host”, and that the virus could be lurking in a tick or a flea which will bites bats, and transmit to bats and eventually to humans. (Cowart, 2016)

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Source: Cowart, L. (2016) Ebola: The secret hideout of the virus. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ebola-the-secret-hideout-of-the-viris-a7339781.html (Accessed: 11 January 2017).

 

Ebola can hide and grow in the lungs

After the Ebola outbreak, people went to understand how the virus was transmitted from person to person. Now, it has been agreed globally that it travels from body to body through fluids such as spit, sweat, blood, tears, excrement.

However, the lungs could be responsible for the infection. Not long ago, scientists in Italy have found the virus multiplying in the lungs of a patient recovering from infection, proving that such organs have bigger role in the infection. This will also allow scientist to further understand the infection and how it is transmitted.

The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and other primates. Some victims experience symptoms like extreme fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can result to death. During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 2 in 5 people who contracted the virus died.

During the Ebola outbreak, health specialists around the globe revealed that Ebola virus might cause lung damage and other  problems that harms the human body by replicating itself inside lung tissue. But no direct evidence of this replication was ever found.

Towards treatment and recovery against the Ebola virus, medical researchers targeted the viral RNA fragments responsible for EBOV replication in both the lungs and blood of the sick patient. They realized that after recovery, these RNA fragments remained in the lungs of the patient five days after it is eliminated from the blood. (Annoymous, Ebola Can Hide Out and Replicate In Your Lungs, 2017)

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Source: Annoymous. (2017). Ebola Can Hide Out and Replicate In Your Lungs. Retrieved from http://motherboard.vice.com/en_ca/read/ebola-can-hide-out-and-replicate-in-your-lungs

 

Merck’s Vaccine will not be able to eliminate Ebola

After 15 years of development, Merck’s vaccine has proven to be 100% effeective at preventing Ebola virus in a clinical trial.  However, it will not be a long term solution,

Marie-Pierre Preziosi, head of the Initiative for Vaccine Research at the World Health Organization, which led the clinical trial, said that the vaccine is suppose to be used to stop the spread of an existing outbreak. Only people most at risk of being exposed to a Ebola-infected person like healthcare worker would receive the vaccine if it is approved.

Preziosi also said that the vaccine will not be given as a preventive vaccine on a large scale as there is not enough information to prove how long the vaccine’s protection lasts. If the vaccine is approved by drug regulators, it will not be used as a long term solution to prevent Ebola cases.

Nearly 12,000 people in Guinea were involved in the trial, which began in 2015. Among the  approximate 6,000 people who received the vaccine, no Ebola cases were identified 10 days or more after vaccination. Among those who did not receive the vaccine, 23  Ebola cases surfaced within the same period.

Manufactured by Merck, the vaccine uses a genetically engineered version of vesicular stomatitis virus, an animal virus that primarily affects cattle, to carry an Ebola virus gene insert. The final results of the trial were published at the end of last month in the Lancet.

Despite having impressive study results, there are still many uncertainties about the vaccine, which includes its effectiveness and safety for pregnant women, HIV-positive individuals, and young children.

Studies in HIV-positive individuals and children younger than six are just getting started, says Tom Monath, chief scientific officer and chief operations officer at NewLink Genetics, which initially licensed the vaccine from Canadian government scientists and is collaborating with Merck.

Scientists will be able to obtain limited data from these extra studies. Since the Ebola outbreak has ended, researchers will not be able to measure the vaccine’s efficacy in these subjects. They also can’t expose trial volunteers to Ebola since the virus is fatal.

Preziosi said that a mixture of Ebola therapeutics and vaccines, including those that are able to  protect against different strains of the disease, will be required to effectively thwart and respond to future epidemics. (Mullin, 2017)

Source: Mullin, E. (2017). Merck’s Vaccine Won’t Be the End of Ebola. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603288/mercks-vaccine-wont-be-the-end-of-ebola/

International Collaboration leads to creation of Vaccine for Ebola

World Health Organization has a recent study that proved to have a new vaccine to be useful against Ebola, proving that even Ebola (a stubborn health issue) can be dealt with when there is collaboration among the different countries.

World health experts, including those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gathered resources in the search for a vaccine. The breakthrough was reported Dec. 23 by the WHO and various partners, who in 2015 began testing a vaccine in a part of Guinea still experiencing Ebola cases. The vaccine, given to 5,837 people who were exposed in some manner to the disease, showed 100 percent effectiveness. There are still doubts regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness, such as whether it works long-term, remain. (Witchita, 2017)

Source: Witchita. (2017). Ebola : International collaboration yields a vaccine . Retrieved from http://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/01/04/ebola-international-collaboration-yields-vaccine/96155922/

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Have Ebola but have no symptoms

Ebola is a terrifying virus as it is fatal and also because it comes along with gruesome symptoms, including projectile vomiting, extreme diarrhea and profuse, uncontrolled bleeding.

Recently, there is a study that showed that people are able to get Ebola and be unaware about it. In the report, published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers from the health group Partners In Health (PIH), which gave medical aid during the Ebola outbreak, wanted to know whether there were people who contracted the disease but did not show any symptoms of it. This doubt arose as Dr. Eugene Richardson wondered why would Ebola virus be different from the majority of viruses which were able to infect humans and cause serious illness and death from a asymptomatic infection

Richardson and his co-authors, including PIH co-founder Paul Farmer, tested 187 people in the 900-person village of Sukudu in Sierra Leone for evidence that they had been infected with Ebola. Of the people tested, they found that 14 had Ebola-related antibodies in their blood, which revealed that they have been infected with the virus. What shocked the researchers,  was that none of these 14 people were included in the original tally of 34 local residents who had contracted the virus.

The report suggests that many instances of Ebola transmission between people may have gone unidentified during the outbreak. It also suggests that Ebola has a wider variety of symptoms, which could have implications for how outbreaks are dealt with in the future.(Sifferlin, 2016)

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Source: Sifferlin, A. (2016). Some People Who Get Ebola Don’t Show Symptoms: Study. Retrieved from http://time.com/4596928/some-people-who-get-ebola-dont-show-symptoms-study/

Remembrance of Cuba Former Leader Castro and his commitment to Healthcare and beating of Ebola

Political leaders and citizens around the globe have reacted in various ways to the recent passing of Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro. Medical assistance and medical training were at the heart of Cuban-African relations during Fidel Castro’s leadership. Since 1963, approximately 77,000 Cuban doctors and other health workers have provided aid in 39 African countries. Now, there are more than 4,000 health professionals working in those 32 African nations.

Apart from medical training, and sending its own personnel to help African countries in many areas. During the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa,Cuba sent a large number of doctors and nurses to fight the epidemic.

In fact, with its first contingent of 62 doctors and 103 nurses, Cuba, a small Caribbean island contributed aid equivalent to that of the rest of the world combined. Furthermore, when other richer countries were slow to respond, Cuba sent an additional 400 specialists.

In an article published, Dr. Jorge Delgado Bustillo, the assistant director of the Central Medical Cooperation Unit, stated that Cuban specialists faced major challenges during this mission. Bustillo, the in charge of the brigade sent to Sierra Leone, described the intense preparation they received at the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine, with guidance from WHO and the Pan American Health Organization. Problems faced include the lack of laboratories.

Hence, Cuba generosity in sending aid to fight the Ebola outbreak was due to partly due to the leadership of Castro and his commitment towards healthcare. (Bah & Walker , 2016)

After approximately six months of fighting the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone, 151 Cuban doctors and nurses return to Cuba. Photo by Enrique Ubieta Gómez with permission.

Source: Bah, A., & Walker , J. (2016). Remembering Castro’s Commitment to Healthcare and Beating Ebola in Africa. Retrieved from https://globalvoices.org/2016/12/18/remembering-castros-commitment-to-healthcare-and-beating-ebola-in-africa/

Blue Dye can help in ensuring safety of Ebola Doctors.

img-1687-13 students (Katherine Jin, Kevin Tyan and Jason Kang) from Columbia University discovered that the transmission of Ebola to medical professionals was due to the way doctors decontaminate. The current best method is to spray environmental suit with bleach and wait for 10 minutes before moving. However, this methods contains many flaws.

There were 3 problems. Firstly, tired doctors do not wait for 10 minutes before removing their robe. Next, droplets are formed when the bleached is sprayed, hence, not the entire suit is sprayed with bleach. Lastly, bleach is not visible,thus, the doctors cannot tell properly if they sprayed the clothing.

The solution created by the same 3 students from Columbia University was “Highlight”, a powerful additive for bleach solution. Highlight is able to reduce the bleach’s tendency to form droplets, covering more surface area. Furthermore, the blue dye is created to gently oxidise with air, evaporating over time (making it visible) (Cooper, 2016)

Evidence:

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Sources: Cooper, D. (2016). Blue dye could help keep Ebola doctors safe. Retrieved October 2016, from https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/13/blue-dye-could-help-keep-ebola-doctors-safe/