News / Africa

Ebola Experts Discuss Possible Cures, Vaccines

A health worker sprays disinfectant on the body of a man suspected of dying of Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia.
A health worker sprays disinfectant on the body of a man suspected of dying of Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia.
VOA News

Nearly 200 experts on Ebola are meeting in Switzerland to discuss possible cures and vaccines for the deadly disease, as the number of cases in West Africa continues to rise.

The World Health Organization says the two-day conference in Geneva is to review recent developments in possible treatments for Ebola and identify the most important actions that need to be taken.

On Thursday, the gathering’s opening day, the WHO called for drug companies and regulatory agencies to collaborate in speeding up development and access to promising, safe treatments to fight Ebola, Reuters reported.

FILE - WHO Director General Margaret Chan says Ebola has killed more than 1,900 in West Africa.FILE - WHO Director General Margaret Chan says Ebola has killed more than 1,900 in West Africa.
x
FILE - WHO Director General Margaret Chan says Ebola has killed more than 1,900 in West Africa.
FILE - WHO Director General Margaret Chan says Ebola has killed more than 1,900 in West Africa.

No cure or vaccine exists for the deadly disease, although an experimental serum, ZMapp, made by a U.S. company, has been given to a small number of patients, some of whom have survived.

ZMapp is among 10 experimental treatments that are being investigated for their potential in combatting the virus and its effects, the WHO said in literature distributed at the conference’s start. They include eight drugs and "two promising candidate vaccines," Reuters quoted the document as saying.

Vaccines are being developed by at least three firms. Human safety trials are scheduled to begin soon on vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline Plc and NewLink Genetics, Reuters reported, adding that Johnson & Johnson on Thursday said it would begin clinical trials next year.

The West African Ebola outbreak this year has killed more than 1,900 people and infected at least 3,500, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO Director General Margaret Chan said Wednesday.

Chan had called for more support from wealthier countries. On Thursday, France’s foreign ministry announced it would send 20 health and medical specialists to West Africa, with the first five departing for the Ebola-striken region on Friday.

Doctor's death adds to toll

On Thursday, Nigerian Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said the Ebola virus has killed seven in his country, including a doctor from the southern city of Port Harcourt who died August 22. At least 18 people have been infected in the country, whose 174 million people make this Africa's most populous nation.

The WHO said the doctor's case is important, because he continued to treat patients for three days after coming down with Ebola symptoms August 11. He had numerous contacts with friends and relatives who visited his house after the birth of a baby.

The U.N. agency warned that "the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Port Harcourt has the potential to grow larger and spread faster" than the recent outbreak in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos.

Lagos experienced a small outbreak after a Liberian man with Ebola, Patrick Sawyer, flew into the city in late July. That outbreak was believed to be quickly contained, but the WHO said a man who had contact with Sawyer defied a quarantine and went to Port Harcourt, where he transmitted the virus to the doctor.

Nigeria's health minister said Thursday that authorities are monitoring nearly 300 people for Ebola symptoms.

An inadequate response

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that the World Health Organization’s response to the crisis had been “hobbled” by years of budget cuts.

“Its outbreak and emergency response units have been slashed, veterans who led previous fights against Ebola and other diseases have left, and scores of positions have been eliminated — precisely the kind of people and efforts that might have helped blunt the outbreak in West Africa before it ballooned into the worst Ebola epidemic ever recorded,” the newspaper reported.

On Wednesday, the United Nations said it would take at least $600 million to provide the supplies needed to contain and combat Ebola’s spread.

"We must fight Ebola because there is huge anxiety for our populations along with significant social and economic consequences," Younoussa Ballo, secretary-general of Guinea's health ministry, told Reuters at Thursday's talks in Geneva. "Research must be speeded up to have medicines to confront this epidemic."

U.S. health officials say the key to containing the outbreak will be increasing the number of Ebola treatment centers, providing protective equipment to health care workers and monitoring the contacts of those infected.

Many health workers in the affected areas of West Africa lack sufficient protective gear for treating patients, the Associated Press reported. Most of the gear must be destroyed after use.

A nurse in Monrovia, Liberia, told the AP she and her colleagues had cut up old uniforms and fashioned them into approximations of protective gear, cutting holes in the fabric to enable them to see. But the eye holes permit fumes from chlorine bleach to burn their eyes, said the nurse, whose name was not disclosed.   

Health workers account for about 10 percent of Ebola deaths, the news service reported.  

Health officials across West Africa have warned people to avoid contact with the body fluids of Ebola patients, including those killed by the disease.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.


 

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlies her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mujidat from: ogun state
September 08, 2014 3:45 AM
please find solution to this ebola may almigty allah help us


by: Sulon K. Momolu
September 06, 2014 8:01 AM
Liberia is battling Ebola with gun. The first of its kind in the world.


by: Sam G. Ta-Kruah, Jr from: Ganta, Nimba, Liberia
September 05, 2014 4:05 AM
WHO please fight hard to contain this virus as precious lives are been lost for God sake

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid