Today, the World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a health emergency, as the virus has caused 932 fatalities in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone as of August 4, 2014. Anthony Fauci, M.D. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) joins Dr. Marc Siegel on SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio to discuss the Ebola virus.
While there is currently no licensed treatment for Ebola, there is research being conducted for a safe and effective Ebola vaccine.
“There are at least a dozen candidate vaccines. One that is probably furthest along in the process of development, it’s a vaccine against Ebola. It was tried on animals, non-human primates – monkeys – very impressive results, and now we’re gonna move into phase one clinical trials by the end of September. Those phase one trials should take until mid to late January.”
Fauci continued: “If it looks to be safe, if it looks to induce a predictably protective immune response, we’ll surge up into advance phase one, phase two, and then partner with the industrial partners in order to make enough to start doing advanced trials. Hopefully, we’ll have some product that we can give on a conditional basis hopefully by the end of 2015. The people you’d wanna give it to obviously are those health care providers that are putting themselves in harms way by taking care of individuals with this disease.”
The NIAID director also elaborated on the transmission of Ebola and how it compares to HIV.
“Ebola is transmitted when a person is sick, usually very sick, and you have to come into direct contact with the body fluids, whatever that be – blood, feces, vomit. So, it’s difficult not to know you’re exposed. In other words, it’s very difficult for someone to be completely unaware that they’re exposed to Ebola. It’s usually in a setting when you’re taking care of someone who’s seriously ill, either while they’re sick or you’re taking care of the body,” Fauci explained.
“I would say that Ebola is clearly much more transmissible than is HIV, but the impact of HIV transmission, because of the large numbers of people that are infected and by the fact that you can unwittingly get into contact with someone and have it transferred.”