It was co-discovered by Dr Peter Piot currently the director of the London School of Tropical Medicine who has allegedly called for a vaccine to be delivered before it has gone through the process of clinical trials on humans and met the standards of Evidence Based Medicine.
Dr Peter Piot discovered the virus whilst being a researcher after his medical studies in Belgium, and the name was given by Karl Johnson a researcher from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA.
Today the virus has emerged as a virulent strain spreading across Liberia, Sierra Leone and other parts of West Africa.
Nigeria has emerged to be tackling the virus best, and a London based medical doctor who recently returned from Nigeria shared that there is little talk amidst the Nigerian medical fraternity and media regardsing the virus, as it seems to have been tackled and contained.
It is important to put the outbreak in context and perhaps best not to be hysterical as there will be economic ramifications and fear induced conditions.
Undoubtedly the virus hit the western media when the scare was seen to potentially affect its shores and currently the reports are that airports and travel stations in the USA and UK have screening clinics set up to question those at risk.
West African authorities had been informing the international community stating their concerns, yet until the risk was seen to possibly affect the West the media didn’t take heed. UK based doctors are currently being recruited to potentially go out and work in the Ebola ridden areas, and yet there is an argument that mobilisation and training to ensure cleanliness and barrier nursing methods may be better methods of preventing transmission.
Charities are collecting in the name of illness, UK politicians are stating that not enough is being done by the international community, and there is a scramble for vaccines by various pharmaceutical companies one of which has been caught in a bribery scandal internationally and may be seeing this moment as a public relations exercise or adding shareholder value.
Whilst speaking to African professionals and doctors, interesting points emerged such as comparisons to malaria which statistically over the last few years has affected more lives than Ebola, the source of the Ebola virus allegedly being from the cross transmission to humans from bats, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA having a patent on the virus and the virus historically being classified as a potential virus for bioterrorism.
Both Liberia and Sierra Leone have only just emerged from civil war to a state of peace, and both have resources whether offshore oil or diamonds respectively, and the middlemen whom control these industries may even have blood on their hands, as the forces that drive them may not see humanity in front.
History repeats, both in terms of inequality, disease and sanitation with clean water, cleanliness and barrier nursing being the biggest medicine. Resources need to be humanely managed and equitably distributed. If resources cannot be adequately administered we may be quoting from Joseph Conrad’s novel titled ‘The Heart of Darkness.’
The book was about the Belgian ship exploring the Congo River in the forests of Africa where Ebony and Ivory were looted and where Kurtz, the man overseeing the loot, whilst dying says ‘the horror, the horror.’