Research towards vaccine Ebola virus killed more than 500 in West Africa

Research towards vaccine for Ebola virus

9:43 AM, 1st August 2014
Research towards vaccine for Ebola virus which killed more than 500 in West Africa
Ebola virus. © Theguardian.

LOUISIANA, US: The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest in history, with more than 500 dead and hundreds more infected. The particular virus in this outbreak, known as the Zaire ebolavirus, is the deadliest type of the disease; it has killed 79 per cent of those infected in previous outbreaks.

This isn’t how an Ebola outbreak has to work. Researchers have devoted lots of time for building a vaccine that could stop the disease altogether - and according to Daniel Bausch, a Tulane professor who researches Ebola and other infectious diseases, they’re making really significant progress. Bausch said that the obstacle to developing an Ebola vaccine isn’t the science; researchers have actually made really great strides in figuring out how to fight back against Ebola and the Marburg virus, a similar disease. “We now have a couple of different vaccine platforms that have shown to be protective with non-human primates,” said Bausch.

The problem is the economics of drug development. Pharmaceutical companies have little incentive to pour research and development dollars into curing a disease that surfaces sporadically in low-income, African countries. They aren’t likely to see a large pay-off at the end - and could stand to lose money.

 

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