CAN EBOLA BE CONTAINED ?
In the last issue I discussed the origin, symptoms and the seriousness of EBOLA VIRUS. In the last one week World Health Organization has declared Senegal & Nigeria EBOLA FREE. This is a good sign to contain and eradicate this virus without the known medicine or vaccine, as yet. WHO is still very much concerned about the severity of this virus. United Nations is making noise that they need at least One Billion Dollars to contain and combat the disease (UN appeal on September 16) So far that kind of commitment has not been made. Some 130 nations have pledged support for the UN EBOLA effort, but only $ 400 million has actually been donated or legally committed and only a few countries have sent doctors to the region. “It’s not enough to write a check,” says MSF’s Liu. ” The reality is we need people in the field. We can’t just have more isolation centers with no one to run them.”
Many countries are sending their troops to help establishing the local relief camps. Britain has send 750 troops to Siera Leone and U.S. has committed 4000 to build treatment centers, mainly in Liberia. Canada has pledged two mobile labs in addition to $ 65 million in aid. But Liu called on Canada to consider deploying DART.(the military’s disaster response unit) Experts have different opinions on sending troops to the affected areas. ” Instead of 3000 troops, it would be better to send 300 doctors,” says Daylue Goah, a communications specialist at JFK General Hospital, Liberia’s only hospital open for non EBOLA related issues.
IS THERE A WAY OUT ?
It is very important to highlight the danger in which these health workers and doctors, soldiers and other officials work in these sever affected areas.The last report which I have, explains the terrible and dangerous conditions under which they perform their duties, 416 health workers got infected and 233 have died.(till today) Their bravery (while knowing the danger of this ghastly virus) has imposed the faith in humanity and also a hope that this virus will be contained. The U.N.’s coordinator for EBOLA, David Nabarro, said the world has realized the seriousness of this virus and “responding with generosity”. But right now the disease is spreading faster than aid is arriving.CDC ( Center for Disease Control and Prevention) predicted a doomsday situation of 1.4 million infections by January, also revealed that the epidemic could be slowed and eventually stopped if 70% of people affected with EBOLA were placed in settings where transmission could be contained. “That’s enough to break the outbreak,” says Dr. Stephan Monroe, deputy director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases.WHO is worried that to accomplish that target we need thousands of beds and other equipment in these countries. There is a hope that Western countries have taken this virus seriously.
But the real problem in treating EBOLA is that Each Treatment Center requires on average four highly trained staff members per patient. It is important that the doctors and nurses along with other staff keep rotating to disinfectant teams and janitors responsible for disposing of contagious materials.people are afraid to work in this kind of environment. Thousands local workers have fled the hospitals and other camps.It is also becoming difficult to recruit doctors and nurses from abroad. More than 402 metric tonnes of life-saving supplies delivered in the region. ( medical supplies, disinfectants,nutrition treatment and more) At my writing time 4922 out of 10,141 known cases in countries have died. (reported by WHO on Saturday) Mali is the latest country to be affected by this virus.
How to Control ?
It is important to understand how to fight this menace and control it from further expanding this virus to other parts of the world. We will discuss the treatment (if there is any) after not well known procedures of controlling this virus.Immediately what is happening on the ground that Epidemiologists tackle the disease by building rings around the virus, starting with the circle of people in direct contact with the patient. Those people are asked about their own circles of close contacts. Then they are closely observed and clearly instructed not to travel, avoid crowded public spaces, monitor your symptoms along with other precautions, these rings are sufficient to stop the spread of EBOLA on the zero ground. But at large there are some more precautions which should be taken.
1. Community engagement is a key to successfully controlling out breaks. Good out break control relies on applying a packages of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization. Of course all this depends on honest and accurate information from the patient and his contacts, and enough doctors with beds to deal with infected people. All these things are in short supply.For example, the U.S. promised on September 16 to train up to 500 health workers a week for the Liberian effort, but officials have since been backtracked on that pledge, acknowledging that it takes several weeks to safely prepare staffers for such a harrowing mission.(but known fact is that workers were not ready to take this kind of dangerous mission) “We don’t want to compromise quality,” says Dr. Frank Mahoney, co-leader of the CDC’s Liberia Field Team.
Why There Was No Vaccine Till Today ?
As I have mentioned earlier that although EBOLA Virus was known from 1976, but no one took it seriously as it was localized and did not spread so fast as in 2014.Many scientists were working on it but no Pharmaceutical company came forward with money. We all know unless and until epidemic does not take serious turn, these Pharmaceutical Companies don’t spend money on research. Amir Attaran, a University of Ottawa professor and Canada Research Chair in population health, has some harsh words for the government of Canada,”How long had that vaccine been sitting in the freezer ? In 2010, when you had the luxury of time, and you licensed it to a commercial partner to develop, why weren’t you cracking the whip about that in 2011,2012 and 2013 ? asks Attaran.”Canada’s mismanagement of this intellectual property is staggering. They’re going to pretend that the thought only crossed their mind that this was useful in an emergency in August.”
It is a matter of some what satisfaction that many governments are working to develop the treatment as well as a vaccine. Many volunteers have come forward to receive this experimental EBOLA vaccine and is now considered that by January, 2015 it could be used commercially. Two clinical trials of an experimental EBOLA vaccine are taking place in U.S.designed by scientists at the National Microbiology laboratory in Winnipeg. (Source, Toronto Star)
The clinical trials are taking in many places, including U.K., U.S. and Canada. Scientists believe that the Canadian formula might actually be better, because it requires just one dose. These trials are taking place in U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The vaccine, which the Canadian government licensed to New Link Genetics of Ames, Iowa, is called VSV-ZEBOV. ‘Speed is of the essence in this EBOLA crises. Agencies such as WFP and WHO are working every hour to confront together the virus as a matter of priority,” said Denis Brown, the West Africa regional director for the UN food agency.
Conclusion:- There is no doubt that EBOLA is the worst Virus world has faced after HIV. The problem lies in the mind set of Western Countries. Their approach to the world epidemics becomes serious only when they feel threatened by these epidemics. The danger of this virus was known in 1976 but no one bothered as it was in localized area in Africa. The pharmaceutical industry did not invest any money and efforts to find the medicinal relief. It is shocking that the Western countries awoke to face this problem when more than 1000 people died and alarming situation alerted by UN and WHO. The cost to contain this epidemic was only 500 million in the initial stages but the response was slow. The revised estimate by UN is around ONE BILLION and the world has pledged only around 400 million. The countries all over the world are spending billion of dollars on their defense but could not find the defense to fight EBOLA in 38 years. I hope the vaccine trials which are going on now would succeed and human catastrophe will not happen.
(Homeopath) Ranvir Sharda,(416) 727-9199
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