The West Africa Ebola Epidemic Arouses Global Response But Caution Needs an Ally and a Local Interpreter

August 15, 2014 6:45 PM

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The West Africa Ebola Epidemic Arouses Global Response But Caution Needs an Ally and a Local Interpreter

The face of the unprecedented Ebola epidemic is now unshrouded, stirring up talk of a global crisis and unmitigated calls for medical countermeasures. The medical community is working furiously to respond to this worst-ever outbreak of Ebola but with no approved vaccines or drug treatments, the response is muted. African leaders and the World Health Organization are now calling for use of experimental drugs to combat the spread of Ebola. The past has shown us that humanitarian acts, if not carefully orchestrated and vetted, have the potential to yield unanticipated fallout. Fears in Northern Nigeria of the polio vaccines being linked to a malfeasant conspiracy resulted in resistance to efforts by the World Health Organization to eradicate polio. This form of irrational paranoia could well be validated if experimental Ebola drugs and vaccines are delivered without clear understanding of risks, no matter how well-intentioned the efforts.

Can the recovery of the two American relief workers from Ebola be attributed completely to the "secret" serum, zMapp, or were these individuals among the fortunate few who were able to fight off the Ebola infection through their normal immune system responses? Examination of these cases in more dept...

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