EVER SINCE THE EBOLA VIRUS was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, scientists have been unable to find a cure for the deadly virus.
WITH THE VIRUS KNOWN for causing acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated the virus first appeared in 2 simultaneous outbreaks in Nzara, Sudan and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo.
FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS now the world has not been able to find a cure or vaccine for the deadly virus despite the sophistication of the United States, Great Britain, Russia, China and other powerful countries.
THE OUTBREAK WHICH started in Guinea in late February to early March and subsequently spread over to Sierra Leone and Liberia is now known as the deadliest outbreak of the virus in human history.
LIBERIA SUFFERED ONE of the worst consequences with the latest World Health organization statistics as per data covering the period up to February 1, 2015 released on February 4 putting the country as the second hardest hit, with 8,745 cases and 3,746 deaths second for Sierra Leone which is reporting 10,740 cases and 3,276 deaths so far. Guinea where the outbreak started is reporting 2, 975 cases with 1,944 deaths.
BEFORE THE CURRENT OUTBREAK, there were smaller outbreaks of Ebola in other countries and the world should have known that a virus without a known cure poses a threat to the entire world, requiring strong effort to develop a cure.
INSTEAD, THE WORLD has been watching for over 40 years as Ebola exists without cure, when billions are spent on inventions, discoveries and other initiatives.
WITH THE WEST AFRICAN outbreak, which spread to other countries, including the United States of America and Spain, powerful countries now know the risks posed by the deadly virus and are making efforts to develop a cure or preventive vaccine.
AS ALWAYS IN EVERY medical research and medicine developed there must be a trial or experiment which is in most instances done on animals that have a similar genetic makeup as humans-chimpanzees, monkeys, etc.
ALREADY SEVERAL EXPERIMENTS have been carried out on Monkeys in relations to developing a vaccine or cure for Ebola, but none have been conclusive, as of now.
AS THE WORLD ENDEAVORS get a vaccine for the virus Liberia, a poor country, always begging for international assistance was seen as the ideal destination for the trial Ebola vaccine and upon arrival in the country; Liberians have been lining up voluntarily to be used as experimental tools in the search for Ebola cure.
EXPERIMENT USING HUMANS are no joke and needed the serious attention of the all stakeholders in Liberia including the National Legislature, the body responsible for lawmaking.
LIBERIANS WHO HAVE been shown up to be administered the trial vaccine apparently do not know the consequences of their voluntary action. For many Ebola is deadly and they just feel taking the trial vaccine will protect them against the deadly virus.
NOW THAT DR. STEPHEN KENNEDY one of the Co-Principal investigators of the trial drugs has bluntly said there will be no medical benefit given to people who may die or suffer from side effects as a result of consenting to take the Ebola trial vaccine, it shows that proper awareness was not created about the trial drugs.
DR. KENNEDY FURTHER saying that legal implications that could address such an incident is under discussion with the Ministry of Justice also indicates that all the necessary procedures were not put in place before the arrival of the trial drugs and its subsequent administering to Liberians.
ILL-INFORMED LIBERIANS could be threading death trap by showing up for a trial vaccine with no plans for benefits in case of death, or the likelihood that those administered the vaccine could come out with complications likely to affect others, it will be another crisis that the Government of Liberia will have to bear on its own, given the explanation by Dr. Kennedy.
DR. KENNEDY FOCUSED on the success side of the story when he said “This is history in the making. I say history in the making because this is unprecedented. It’s unprecedented because if we are able to make this vaccine work, Liberia will be making a significant contribution to global public health despite other research carried out in other areas,”.
IN CASE OF THE trial vaccine, there are two expected outcome, either good or bad but Dr. Kennedy failed to state what will happen when the trial vaccine turns the other way around (bad), causing deaths and disaster rather than good.
LIBERIANS ARE NOT animals and must be provided sufficient education on the danger associated with a trial drug before it is administered to them.
ONE THING THAT IS certain is that the trial vaccine is not approved by the World Health Organization that according to Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, a health official in Liberia, which makes the entire process a more risky undertaking.
IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES around the world, before trial drugs are administered to people, there are legal as well as other procedures put in place in case things go wrong but in the case with Liberia such was not put in place-people just lineup to be administered trial drugs.
IT IS LITTLE TOO LATE, actions by the lawmakers, citing the team administering the trial vaccine at a time when a good number of Liberians have already being administered the trial vaccine.
LIBERIANS ARE NOT animals and if they even want to voluntarily to be administered trial drugs, legal as well as procedures opt to be in place to protect them from serious harm.
A SUB REGIONAL SIMULTANEOUS trial in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone approved by the WHO could be the better option rather than singling out a country with high level of illiteracy for experimenting.