With Ebola in the News, it’s Time to Talk Vaccine Research

The Ebola virus has been a hot topic of discussion in the news over the past couple of weeks but the virus has actually been around for quite some time. It first emerged in Africa during the mid-1970’s and is believed to be carried and transmitted by the fruit bat. Once contracted by a human, the incubation period can be anything from two days to three weeks. Symptoms include fevers, headaches, sore throats and muscle pain followed by a rash, vomiting, diarrhoea and a decreasing liver and kidney function.

Between 1976, when the Ebola virus first appeared and 2013, the World Health Organization had reported 1,716 cases. The 2014 outbreak in Africa saw numbers rise to a staggering 2,615, as the outbreak began to spread to other parts of the globe. The medical profession has found it increasingly difficult to cure the virus because as yet, there isn’t a sufficient solution that can be mass produced.

Currently, there are efforts to regress and cure Ebola and USA Today has reported that two American missionaries who contracted the virus, whilst working in West Africa, received an experimental treatment and have been released from hospital. Doctors treating the missionaries reported that their former patients are no longer contagious and do not pose a threat to others. However, the treatment that the two individuals received upon their stay in hospital is questionable.

The missionaries were administered with the experimental vaccine ZMapp, even though human testing was never completed and ZMapp was still being tested on animals. No human clinical trials have so far been conducted and the side effects of the vaccine are yet to be discovered because of the lack of research. This raises concerns because the treatment could potentially only act as a ‘band-aid’ to a serious threat. The World Health Organization has announced that the treatment was based upon the ‘particular circumstances’ surrounding the Ebola virus outbreak and mentioned that the efficacy and adverse effects of the vaccine are unknown

The drug manufacturer of ZMapp claims that there is no longer any more of the vaccine left and doctors have yet to see proof of whether ZMapp had been successful, even though the patients showed no signs of the Ebola virus in their bodies. Although the two Americans have been released from the hospital, it is said that the Ebola virus can have an incubation period of up to 21 days. In the event that more ZMapp is produced and sent for more clinical trials, the long-term side effects will remain unknown due to lack of research.

Our goal at CMSRI is to raise awareness of the toxins and adverse effects vaccines pose to the human body. This new, experimental vaccine should be placed under the same scrutiny because the long-term effects have yet to be discovered or studied.