Three truths about Ebola virus

According to data released by the World Health Organization on October 3, Ebola virus has killed 3,431 people and infected 7,470. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all have confirmed cases of infection.
The Origin of the “Fall” of Three West African Countries
Some research results show that Ebola virus was first transmitted from animals to humans because humans came into contact with the blood or corpses of infected animals in the rainforest. Therefore, relevant agencies have repeatedly reminded that people must avoid contact with bats, orangutans and other animals in areas where outbreaks occur.
Medecins sans frontiè res also said in an interview with the media that the local people obviously did not know enough about Ebola, “the disaster is related to deep-rooted bad habits. For example, in some parts of West Africa, residents have the custom of scrubbing, hugging and even kissing the deceased. They do not wear gloves and have no protection. Some people even chat and eat in morgues. They don’t know that the body still secretes liquid, and funerals have become one of the important sources of infection. ”
Ebola virus is less infectious in the incubation period. Once the patient is ill and dies, it is extremely infectious. If the body is not treated with professional protective equipment, it is extremely susceptible to infection. In three countries in West Africa, there have been many incidents of families and medical personnel robbing corpses and patients. The Sierra Leone government has sent police and troops to supervise the public to carry out protective treatment of the bodies and urge them to be buried immediately.
“They have misunderstood too much about the virus. Some people even think that the epidemic situation is not real and is exaggerated by foreigners. They can recover from the disease without treatment. Some people also said that foreign doctors brought the virus here and took knives to prevent the therapists from entering the village. ” The Associated Press reported that in the place where the epidemic was first discovered in Guinea, some people violently attacked the treatment center of Doctors Without Borders, causing the organization to stop treatment work in Guinea for a time.
The three West African countries hit by Ebola are all the least developed countries announced by the United Nations. A Guinean doctor revealed that the outbreak first appeared in Guinea probably in December last year. However, due to lack of professional diagnostic equipment, it has been treated as common cold and malaria. Until the spread of the epidemic is difficult to end, serum samples have to be sent to France for testing, thus missing the best time for prevention and treatment. It is reported that the isolation and treatment of infected persons in Guinea is mainly led by foreign experts. The government is mainly responsible for disinfection of public places and control of population flow in epidemic areas, but it is basically only in form.
“A few years ago, when I was working in Africa, my most obvious feeling was that the government was too inefficient. Sometimes our doctors were in a hurry. They were not in a hurry. The necessary preventive measures for epidemic diseases were useless.” Cao Kexun sighs that Africans are very enthusiastic and used to partying, but these all give the green light to the spread of disease. “In some big cities, entertainment places are open all night every day. I have also seen the media report on Guinea. Even at this tense time, the bar is still open and there are many people. ”
The World Health Organization warned several times to avoid large-scale gatherings during the epidemic, but on July 29, a large-scale concert was held at a beach in Toudu, Guinea. The stampede resulted in 34 deaths and dozens of injuries.
Transmission of Ebola
The British government held the highest-level crisis meeting on July 30, believing that the epidemic has posed a “serious threat” to Britain and even Europe. According to Agence France-Presse, France also sent several expert teams to the affected areas. Following the United States, Germany and France issued travel warnings to three West African countries. Multi-national airlines have also suspended flights to West African countries.
Earlier reports said that a woman returning from Kenya to Hong Kong, China, had symptoms of suspected infection, which once attracted high attention in the Asia-Pacific region. But the media soon confirmed that the woman’s virus test results were negative, ruling out the possibility of infection. The Hong Kong SAR government also confirmed that no suspected cases had been reported. However, the Hong Kong Health Protection Center has released detailed prevention and control measures.
“Generally speaking, viruses and outbreaks occur in West Africa. Outbreaks outside West Africa are unlikely.” WHO spokesman hartle said, “You cannot be infected unless you have direct contact with the body fluid of the infected person in West Africa, blood infection, etc.”
Viruses exist in blood and body fluids of infected persons and are infectious. Especially when the skin or mucous membrane of healthy people is damaged, contact with infected clothes, bed sheets or used needles may be infected. In addition, within 7 weeks after recovery, male patients still have virus in semen, which can be transmitted to others through sexual contact. Once infected, the patient should be isolated and cared for by medical personnel wearing protective clothing. Treatment methods include infusion, keeping the patient’s oxygen and blood pressure stable. Some patients will recover after a period of medical care.
After consulting WHO, IATA said it would not impose flight restrictions. The association issued a statement saying that Ebola virus can only spread when patients show severe symptoms, and the incubation period of the virus is 2 to 21 days. Patients will suddenly suffer from symptoms such as high fever, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, liver and kidney failure, and internal and external bleeding symptoms in the later stage of infection. Patients with symptoms are almost impossible to think they are suitable for travel.
“As long as the Ebola infected person does not vomit on you and sits next to the infected person without touching, there is no need to worry about being infected.” Belgian scientist Piote hopes to dispel unnecessary fears among the public. He and his colleagues first discovered the Ebola virus in 1976 and named it after the Ebola River in northern Zaire, where the epidemic occurred. There are 5 subtypes of the virus, and the first subtype found in 1976 is the most deadly. WHO said that preliminary investigations showed that this subtype was the main culprit of this epidemic.
Piote later became Executive Director of UNAIDS and is currently Dean of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In his view, even if infected people fly from West African countries to other regions, the possibility of outbreaks in those regions is still very small. Some analysts also remind that, in order to prevent cross-border infection and “flying with poison”, once the land and air routes to and from the three West African countries are closed, the consequences will be very serious, because these countries cannot even self-sufficient in food and other necessities, “the international community must not isolate them.”
“Some newspapers said that the climate here is not suitable for the spread of the virus, and some media said that suspected patients have been found in South Africa. In any case, the government has repeatedly said that monitoring is in place, so from my observation, people’s lives in big cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town have not been affected at all. ” Officials at Cape Town’s Travel Guidance Center said.
Why is Ebola Vaccine “Late”
WHO spokesman hartle said frankly that Ebola cases have been rare for a long time, and the medical profession has not been under the same urgent pressure to develop vaccines as against AIDS. Many U.S. agencies have stepped up their efforts to develop vaccines and drugs against Ebola before the big enemy.
At the end of July this year, CNN quoted Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying that the institute intends to start human testing of the virus-tested vaccine in mid-September, with results expected early next year. Foci said that since 2003, the vaccine research has already completed the experiments on monkeys, and the vaccinated monkeys can be immunized within one month. In addition, at the end of 2011, researchers at the University of Arizona also developed an experimental vaccine. Eighty percent of mice injected with this vaccine will no longer be infected with the virus.
In March this year, the University of Texas received 26 million U.S. dollars in funding to study three Ebola vaccines, all of which were nearly 100% effective in rhesus monkeys. According to media reports, in 2009, a German laboratory worker received one of the vaccines after stabbing his finger with a virus-contaminated needle. Since then, there has been no symptoms.
“In a few laboratories with high-level safety measures, Ebola vaccine research started several years ago, and some laboratories have finished the animal testing phase, but why has human clinical trials been delayed?” A report on the website of Sing Tao Daily raised questions. Some researchers believe that it is difficult to move from the animal testing phase of vaccines to the human testing phase because of the difficulty in controlling technical parameters such as safety and dosage.
However, Dr. Cao Kexun believes that the most important difficulty in developing human vaccines may not lie in technology. “Before this outbreak, Ebola did not attract enough attention from the international community. Even under the current situation, its death toll is still relatively small compared with malaria and dengue fever. Without a large-scale outbreak, there would be no large-scale market. Some big companies are doing business and think that the vaccine has been developed without good market returns and are unwilling to invest too much. ”
Dimas, a scholar at Tufts University in the United States, pointed out in his 2012 research report that the average investment of US pharmaceutical companies in developing new drugs is US$ 1 billion, and the maximum cost of a single clinical human trial is US$ L billion. The long human vaccine test takes a lot of manpower, material resources and financial resources, and it is difficult to expect several top companies to spend billions of dollars on charity for humanitarian reasons. U.S. media have disclosed that Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a “neglected tropical disease” in the United States. Among the government funds allocated to pharmaceutical companies for non-profit drug research and development, Ebola has also received a lower level of attention.
In January this year, an Ebola drug supported by US$ 140 million from the US Department of Defense entered clinical human trials. It was developed by a Canadian pharmaceutical company. But not long ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stopped the early testing of the vaccine in healthy people and asked production companies to provide more information about the safety of volunteers.
There is a dispute between the medical profession and the government administration over whether the experimental vaccine should be tried in advance. Some people think that this epidemic is coming fast and it is important to use drugs to save people. The administrative department should release it as soon as possible. Piote supports this. However, some scientists believe that putting vaccines that have not been fully tested into use is against morality.