WHAT IS EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE?
Ebola Virus is a deadly disease that has become a great threat to the humankind and is the next big challenge for the medical world. With its outbreaks started in Congo, the virus has killed more than 11,000 people in Africa between 1976 and 2014. Although many efforts are being put in discovering a permanent cure or vaccination for Ebola Virus Disease, scientists are yet unable to discover treatment for Ebola Virus Disease.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PATIENTS SUFFERING FROM EBOLA?
The patients suffering from Ebola are generally put on palliative care, that is, improving the quality of life for them by providing symptomatic support.
- Oxygen for respiratory distress
- Maintenance of Blood pressure
- Regulation of Electrolytes via Intravenous transfusions
- Treatment of superimposed infections due to weakened immunity
However, the major problem with patients suffering from Ebola Hemorrhagic fever is the blood loss that occurs both internally and internally, leading to severe cases of iron deficiency anemia and posing the patient to many other diseases due to severe weakness and compromised immunity. No cure has been found for this except for blood transfusions in extreme cases. So, the focus remains on preventing the spread of Ebola Virus Disease.
THE EBOLA VIRUS FAMILY:
The Ebola Virus has five sub types and belongs to the Virus family Filovridae. Out of these five types, four have been found capable of causing infection.
CURE OF EBOLA VIRUS IN PRIMATES:
Initially, the Ebola Virus was found in primates including monkeys, apes, fruit flies etc. Research has been conducted out extensively to develop a vaccine that proves to be successful in animals.
Recently, Canadian scientists claimed to have developed a successful cure for Ebola Virus Disease in Monkeys. This research was published in Science Transnational Medicine in June 2013.
The scientists identified some antibodies similar to the antibodies present on the shell of Ebola Virus and created a vaccine. When this vaccine was given to a group of 4 Monkeys within 24 hours of infection, all 4 of them survived. However, when the vaccine was administered within 48 hours of infection with Ebola Virus, only 2 out of 4 monkeys survived
CURE OF EBOLA VIRUS IN HUMAN BEINGS:
The FDA has not approved any medicine or vaccine for complete cure or prevention of Ebola Virus. However experimental vaccines have been developed but have not been tested for safety and efficacy completely yet.
Two of the major potential vaccines that are under development and have been proved safe in humans are by:
- Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) in association with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)
- VSV-ZEBOV developed by New Links Genetics and Merck Vaccines USA in collaboration with Health Agency of Canada.
The VSV-ZEBOV went under clinical trials in Guinea and the results were remarkable. 100 patients’ families and neighbors were vaccinated with Ebola Virus vaccine between April and July 2014, as a result, only 16 subsequent cases of Ebola Virus infection were found.
Although there lays no cure for Ebola until Today, there is a hope that scientists would be able to develop a permanent solution to this big Ebola Zombie