The Ebola Outbreak: It's Time for 'Plan C'

We need 500M doses of a vaccine we don't have: Michael Osterholm
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2014 1:55 PM CDT
The Ebola Outbreak: It's Time for 'Plan C'
A young boy who just learned he tested negative to the Ebola virus and therefore survived the virus runs in joy at the Ebola isolation and treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia, Monday Sept. 29, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Plan A for stopping Ebola calls for shutting it down where it's already occurring, and that's not working. There's no Plan B in place to prevent it from expanding even further, especially if it hits a busy area with limited health care. So it's time for Plan C, writes public health expert Michael T. Osterholm at Politico: "The only guaranteed solution to ending this Ebola crisis is to develop, manufacture, and deliver an effective Ebola vaccine, potentially to most of the people in West Africa, and maybe even to most of the population of the African continent." That means we need 500 million doses of a vaccine that still needs to be developed.

Osterholm sees massive challenges in fighting the disease, which could affect some 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone by early next year, according to the CDC. "The epidemic is unfolding on 'virus time,'" he notes, which is far quicker than the "bureaucracy time" required by organizations to deal with it. Distributing a vaccine will require a response from governments and vaccine makers on par with efforts against influenza, "mobilizing people and resources on a massive scale—it has to be the international community’s top priority," Osterholm writes. But he offers a ray of hope: "I feel certain that a safe and effective Ebola vaccine is on [its] way." Click for the full piece. (Read more Ebola stories.)

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