You might think that most would be hesitant to join an early round of human test subjects for a fast-tracked Ebola vaccine. You might be wrong. According to the Sun, when the call went out for Baltimore-area volunteers, “[t]he response was overwhelming.” Within a month, 20 Baltimoreans will receive the same vaccine that was tested on humans in Mali earlier in October.
Just in case you are as confused as I am on how vaccines work and have the vague impression that this vaccine may actually contain Ebola in some form, it doesn’t. The vaccine, one of several Ebola vaccines in the works, was developed by the National Institutes of Health. It contains a non-reproducing version of a “chimpanzee cold virus that carries an Ebola protein.”
But, in a way, getting a safe, effective vaccine is less than half the battle. Distributing it has its own logistical and financial obstacles. Currently, the World Health Organization envisions only limited distribution of the vaccine to those most at risk in early 2015. And that’s assuming one of these vaccines is proven effective and the trials continue to move at this clip.
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