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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid