It’s hard to turn anywhere in the news without hearing something about the Ebola epidemic that is taking thousands of lives on the African continent. New cases from American doctors and nurses working in the field emerge occasionally, but should Americans truly be worried? Check out this article which highlights some of the issues facing the U.S. medical community and its handling of the Ebola outbreak, including the possibility of a mandated vaccine, and questionable testing methods.
by Christina Sarich
This article was published in Natural Society on October 15, 2014.
Trusting GlaxoSmithKline with an Ebola vaccine?
While the Ebola virus does pass easily, can be lethal, and requires extensive treatment, this article shows that the medical community in the U.S. should be careful about how it interacts with the virus. In it, we hear about the dangers of trusting a company like GlaxoSmithKline to handle a vaccine. As reported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, this company was responsible for accidentally pouring 45 liters of live polio virus into a river in Belgium.
Another issue faced in the Ebola epidemic is the standard test for diagnosing Ebola (PCR) is found to be fairly unreliable. It only recognizes one strain of Ebola, meaning that if it comes back negative, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t an Ebola strain present in a subject. There are 5 different strains, and 3 are associated with outbreaks in Africa: Zaire, Bundibugyo, and Sudan. If the test is negative, it only means that the Zaire strain isn’t present in them.
This article discusses the dangers of getting sucked into the Ebola hype, and the risks that come with an Ebola vaccine. According to the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the downsides of an Ebola vaccine may not be worth the benefits. In regards to live-virus vaccines, their website states “It is the nature of living things to change, or mutate, and the organisms used in live, attenuated vaccines are no different. The remote possibility exists that an attenuated microbe in the vaccine could revert to a virulent form and cause disease.” As we discussed in our summary on 10 influenza vaccine dangers, another downside of a live-virus vaccine is that it wouldn’t be available for the people who truly need it: people with weak immune systems and the elderly.
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