World’s First Successful Vaccine Ready To Combat ‘Inevitable’ Future Ebola Outbreak
The World Health Organization has admitted that a new Ebola outbreak is something of an inevitability due to the nature of the virus, but the group is confident that the world is now better prepared to combat an outbreak thanks to the successful vaccine that has been developed and tested.
The Ebola crisis that began in December 2013 hit West Africa hard, killing 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia while leaving thousands of survivors with long-term health problems.
The urgency of the previous epidemic led to the development of a new vaccine and rapid-response measures that are designed to quickly assist with an Ebola outbreak, according to ENCA.
Last December, the World Health Organization published results from the Guinea ring vaccination trial, showing that the world’s first Ebola vaccine provides substantial protection, as the thousands of people who consented to be vaccinated presented with no cases of the Ebola virus.
At the time of the outbreak, the World Health Organization was heavily criticized for their lackluster response, with some critics suggesting that the group did not fully comprehend the scale of the outbreak and the cultural aspects that needed to be navigated.
Tracking and treating the virus was a much bigger challenge than originally anticipated, as the rural population in the affected countries often mistrust foreign doctors and they failed to follow their advice.
At the time the World Health Organization set up a regional center in Guinea to respond to the Ebola outbreak, while MSF (Doctors without Borders) set up a response center in Sierra Leone in an effort to combat the disease, which was eventually kept under control, but not without significant loss of life.
Ready to respond to a new Ebola outbreak
World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan addressed scientists and other guests at an event in the Guinean capital of Conakry on Thursday.
The event was dedicated to those who fought to control the disease in their communities, allowing the spread to eventually be contained.
Chan thanked the Guinean government for playing a crucial role in developing the successful vaccine, but she was also quick to admit that a new Ebola outbreak would almost certainly take place in the near future, at which point the global community would be better prepared to respond.
“Scientists do not yet know exactly where in nature the Ebola virus hides between outbreaks, but nearly all experts agree that another outbreak is inevitable,” Chan said, according to NewVision.
“When this occurs, the world will be far better prepared,” she added, referencing the development of the vaccine which holds a great deal of promise.
“These significant spillover effects strengthen the world’s collective defences against the never-ending threat from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases,” she said.
Guinean president Alpha Conde also addressed delegates at the event, according to Punch, saying that it was “time Africa benefited from cutting-edge technology, notably in the field of biomedical sciences.”
Sign up for the AFKInsider newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know from Africa and the African diaspora, delivered straight to your inbox.