Figure 1 Ebola by Romeo Parker


            The Ebola virus, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a deadly but seldom seen disease. Of the five different types of Ebola viruses, only four of  them can cause disease in humans. Ebola can cause severe bleeding from all of the body’s orifices. There is no cure nor vaccine for this disease. Unfortunately, the majority of humans who contract Ebola will die.

            This virus is able to be very resistant to treatment. The particles of the Ebola virus are too small to reproduce on their own, so it injects its genome into a host cell. When the host cell replicates, the Ebola virus does also. The Ebola virus must be able to attach to a receptor molecule in order for the virus to be able to do its injecting. It cannot invade a cell if it doesn’t have the equipment to attach to that cell’s receptor. To keep the Ebola virus from binding to a cell and replicating, scientist must identify the virus’ corresponding receptor. That is the problem with the Ebola virus, we don’t know what the receptor is.



Text Box: Figure 2 Victims being treated for Ebola Ebola virus initially attacks the human body by sending the immune system into overdrive. Being that the immune system is the first line of defense, this attack leaves the body unable to kill the virus. Using the body’s own immune cells as host, the virus replicates as much as it likes. The infection grows so large, that in an attempt to kill it off, the immune system produces a fever so high that it sends a person into shock. This also causes the tissues of the body to degrade, the blood pressure to drop and then the organs start to fail. The symptoms start out like the flu; then you began to have diarrhea and bleeding (from the eyes, nose, mouth and rectum).

            At room temperature, the Ebola virus can live outside of the body for as long as two days. So it is important to sterilize equipment, keep the hospital environment clean and to isolate patients effectively. Infection control is a huge factor in this epidemic. Countries with good medical infrastructure and infection control are at no risk for outbreaks from this pathogen.

Ebola is transmitted to humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or body fluids of infected animals. African fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus. Primates can also transmit the virus, even though they are thought to be only an accidental host. Affected countries are trying to get the word out, about the meat of these animals containing the virus. There is no vaccine against Ebola, however many research universities and institutions are working to solve this epidemic. Ebola is also very dangerous and expensive to study. There are several vaccines that are being tested but are not yet available for clinical use.

The FDA drug approval process begins with a drug being developed and then being tested on animals for toxicity. Then an investigational New Drug Application must be submitted to the FDA, showing the initial test results. Phase one is the next step, where twenty to eighty healthy volunteers take the drug to determine side effects. Then in phase two the drug is tested on sick volunteers to see how it works on certain diseases. Phase three studies gather more information about the safety and effectiveness of the drug. Next, a review meeting is held by the FDA. Once all the data is compiled from a study, the drug sponsor formally asks the FDA to approve the drug for marketing. The FDA has sixty days to decide whether or not to file a New Drug Application to be reviewed. The drug’s professional labeling is also reviewed to assure that important information is communicated to the public. FDA then inspects the facilities where the drug will be made.

The World Health Organization has reported that Ebola epidemic has been “vastly” underestimated. By August 2014 the official toll had climbed to 1,069 people infected. Staff at many hospitals are seeing evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths underestimate the size of the outbreak. The Ebola epidemic also could shut down the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which could cause economic deterioration.

            The Ebola virus was first seen in Sudan and Zaire, in 1976. There it infected over 284 people, but only killed half of them. The virus gets its name from the Ebola River in Zaire. The virus emerged a few months later and infected 318 people, however eighty-eight percent of them died. Despite the hard work of dedicated and experienced researchers, Ebola’s natural reservoir was never identified. The last known strain of Ebola was discovered in 1994 by a female researcher. She was performing a necropsy on a dead chimpanzee and she accidentally infected herself.

            It is a well known fact, that the Ebola virus is considered by some to be an alien. This theory came about when Ashley Dale, a British engineer, proposed that there is a possibility that Ebola could have arrived on Earth during its evolution. Science has shown that particles of a virus can make it through space undamaged. For example, meteorites from Mars land on our planet every year; and we know that bacteria can survive the journey. So many believe there is a chance that Ebola arrived on this planet from somewhere in space.








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