Could interventions have turned the tide of the ebola outbreak?
In Liberia, by October 23, the total of 2,705 dead from 4,665 confirmed ebola cases is more than half of the total of registered deceased from ebola (4,992) and so seems to indicate a decrease.
The total death toll should, in fact be 2 x 2705 i.e. 5410 – due to the normal 4 week doubling effect.
The Liberian Red Cross, charged with collecting the corpses around the capital, Monrovia, stated that on October 28 the number of deceased, which reached a peak of 300 per week by mid-September, declined to 117 just last week.
The Secretary General of the Liberian Red Cross, Fayah Tomba, warned ‘not to declare a victory because the number of cases continue to be under-declared, particularly in Monrovia’ (translated from an article in Le Monde.Fr newspaper).
The United States intervention concentrates on Liberia with an Infantry Brigade of 4,000 soldiers building isolation and treatment centers in forested areas of the country. The mission has seen success, as death rates appear to be going down.
The United Kingdom is concentrating on its former colony of Sierra Leone with a 750 strong battalion and a Royal Navy supply ship in support, again with some success in declining numbers of victims.
French government concerns in Guinea – namely through health, diplomacy, security and research directed by the President of the Pharmaceutical Company Aviesan along with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) – intend that by mid-November, a clinic administering an experimental antiviral favipiaravir will be available by January 2015 to treat ebola sufferers.
France will concentrate on facilities in Guinea in co-operation with NGOs such as Goal, Concern and MSF. The main centre will be located close to Conakry with French army and Guinean army assistance, caring for between 30 and 200 patients.
The present Red Cross center at Macenta, Guinea located near Liberia and Sierra Leone, with 100 beds, has access and security problems.
At the end of December 2014 or early 2015 there will be several 30 – 50 bed facilities for the treatment of ebola in forested areas, sufficiently secure to be effective.
Ebola Treatment and Prevention
Favipiaravir (T-705) represents the first effective therapeutic agent for advanced Zaire EBOV (ebola virus) infection in an animal model. It reduces viremia (reduces the number of viruses), ameliorates clinical and biochemical signs of disease, and prevents lethal outcome in 100% of the animals if treatment is commenced 6 days after infection – that’s 2–4 days before the time of death in control animals.Human clinical trials will follow.
Currently a large scale clinical trial of an ebola vaccine on 400 volunteers is underway in Switzerland.
Ebola Quarantine Measures: International Opposition
International agencies oppose systematic quarantine measures for medical personnel who had contact with ebola victims, simply because this discourages medical personnel from traveling to West Africa where they are so desperately needed.
In reality, there is no possibility of an ebola epidemic outside West Africa due to differences in medical and sanitary standards, and aid from outside nations, so a quarantine is unnecessary.
A large French civilian population in Cote d’Ivoire, for example, ensures France will aid their compatriots should an outbreak occur as both Guinea and Liberia share a border with Cote d’Ivoire.
Ebola Outbreak: U.S. Involvement Has Decreased Deaths
From mid-September 2014, the now six-week U.S. building of isolation and treatment centers has resulted in a decrease in deaths from ebola. Ebola can be contained – however it will not be eliminated. Uganda functions with ebola infections monthly and is able to contain the outbreaks in rural areas. Nigeria is declared ebola free by WHO, and Mali and Senegal have successfully contained one case each of ebola. Ms. Samantha Power, the Irish-born US Ambassador to the UN toured the ebola affected countries in West Africa last week and expressed her satisfaction with their progress in containing ebola to date. In general, the outlook is improving.