Ebola Vaccine: What Took So Long?

Christopher K. Brown, the 2018 Outstanding Biodefense Doctoral Student award winner, says in an op-ed in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the perceived roadblocks to creating and distributing an Ebola vaccine are endangering possibly hundreds of thousands. Schar School of Policy and Government associate professor Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley contributed to the column.

In a typical Ebola outbreak, the fatality rate is often 30 percent or more. Tens of thousands of people have contracted the disease since it was discovered in 1976, with the bulk of the cases recorded during the 2014–2016 West African epidemic. Many calendar years have seen at least a handful of people sickened with this frequently fatal disease. So why is a vaccine just now reaching the public in Africa?

This question is especially pertinent because a new Ebola outbreak is under way in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 50 cases of the disease have been reported so far, including several in Mbandaka, a city of about 1.2 million people. Preventing the spread of the virus from infected individuals to their close contacts, including in densely populated areas and in Ebola treatment centers, is crucial to arresting the outbreak […]

Read the full story. Article reposted with permission from The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.