Many are still working to find a cure for the Ebola virus disease, hoping that extensive research can aid in curing the disease for all those who have it. As another worker was returned to the U.S. after catching the Ebola virus disease, the pressure continues to increase with each new death. The Africa outbreak is being currently reported as the largest in history, and each day new reports come in that another resident of the U.S. is being watched in isolation. Now the FDA has released statements reflecting that they may be ready to review options for curing the Ebola virus disease, in May.
The Ebola virus disease in one in which a human host can catch an infection, currently un-treatable. Subjects begin with fever, muscle weakness, pain, a headache, and/or sore throat, though the disease is quickly escalated to nausea and vomiting, rash, diarrhea, and weight loss. Eventually subjects who are not cured have internal bleeding, with bloody stool, bloodshot eyes, bruising, and then impaired liver and kidney function. As researchers have had a hard time understanding exactly how the Ebola virus disease functions, it has been difficult, if not impossible to create a cure. It’s wide attack on and quick spread through the body, make it difficult to study. But companies have risen to the task since the large outbreak began in 2014.
Companies like Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline, Novavax Inc, and even Johnson & Johnson, have been working hard to find a possible cure for the Ebola virus disease. Many are working on trying to establish a vaccine that would cure the body, after its contraction of the disease. The FDA has announced that they will begin discussing the development of possible vaccines for the Ebola virus disease, beginning on May 12. Many drugmakers that have begun working on a vaccine are still in different stages of testing.
Though it seems, that another important task would not only be curing the Ebola virus disease, but also finding better ways to help people avoid getting the disease in the first place. A study shown on antiseptic showed that it was 99.9 percent effective in keeping people from contracting the disease, when used consistently. However, that only helps if touching things where the virus can spread, but does not specifically cover spread when getting germs on other parts of the body. As well, survivors of Ebola state that they continue to have major health issues after surviving the disease. Even if companies can help in curing Ebola, would these health risks associated with the disease still occur afterwards?
Perhaps the better solution is to figure out a way to keep the Ebola virus disease from spreading. The military has also been working hard on this solution, as the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released information that they may have a way to keep people from contracting infectious diseases, like the Ebola virus disease. DARPA has released information that they have been testing a vaccine that changes the “coding” in DNA. Dan Warrendorf, a DARPA program manager stated that by encoding RNA with DNA, they may be able to protect against mass outbreaks of diseases. The vaccine will essentially create antibodies from survivors, and can be placed in people who may come into contact with diseases, like the Ebola virus disease to effectively help them reduce the risk of catching it.
As many are still working to find a cure for the Ebola Virus Disease, the world could see a possible reduction of cases, if not eliminate them entirely (if these companies do what they hope to, as far as helping humans to avoid catching diseases). However, a time line for the cure is still unknown and may in fact be far off. Until then thousands are dying of the Ebola virus disease and the pressure is still on.
By Crystal Boulware
Steven Depolo – Creativecommons Flickr License