Monday, September 8, 2014

Ebola Bad News, Ebola Good News (Hopefully)

First the bad:
There is an 18 percent chance that a case of the Ebola virus will reach the United States by the end of September, according to a study published on Tuesday in PLOS Currents: Outbreaks.

Despite restrictions reducing travel in and out of the infected countries by 80 percent, the study, which analyzes global flight patterns, suggests that a case of Ebola in the U.S. is becoming increasingly harder to avoid. It also lists the chance of the virus reaching the United Kingdom between 25 and 28 percent.
However, this potentially good news:
Dr. Kieny said nearly 200 scientists, ethicists and clinicians from around the world had reached a consensus in identifying the most promising vaccines and potential treatments and developing strategies for testing them. The two vaccines, which have not yet been studied in humans, are set to undergo initial tests of their safety and immune system effects beginning this month in a small number of volunteers in Britain, the United States and Mali, which borders Guinea, where the outbreak emerged.

If the initial safety tests were encouraging, the vaccines, still under evaluation, should immediately be offered in stages to health workers and other “front line staff” in West Africa, according to a prioritization plan set by a panel of ethicists convened earlier this summer by the W.H.O., Dr. Kieny said.