The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been spreading at an alarming rate; far quicker than health workers are able to harness it and control it. While this is terrifying in itself, the ultimate fear is that the disease will break out of West Africa, spreading further into the continent.
As of late, the World Health Organization (WHO) has expended a $100 million campaign that will go towards anything and everything necessary to get this disease under control. Meanwhile, the World Bank will contribute to this cause as well, working on getting a $200 million pledge to give further aid to the epidemic. So far, the virus has taken the lives of upwards of 900 individuals in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia in a very short period of time.
While symptoms of Ebola can show up in just two days, it can also take up to 21 days for symptoms to be exhibited, which can contribute to the spread of this disease more easily. For example, if someone contracts the disease in Guinea, they could board a plane and be anywhere in the world weeks before they even realize they are ill. In that vein, the disease can not only be spread outside of west Africa, but to anywhere else in the world, where it could possibly spread even further.
Given the potential for this disease to spread so easily, there has been a lot of pressure on the FDA to expedite production and testing of new Ebola drugs so that they can be administered to humans. One of the frontrunners of Ebola treatment drugs is called TKM-Ebola. The company that developed this potential treatment is Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, which is a biopharmaceutical firm in Canada. Tekmira has a contract with the United States Department of Defense to develop the Ebola treatment drug. This contract is worth $140 M. The company also specializes in drugs and treatments that operate as gene silencers, or RNA Interference drugs, which have the potential to be very successful.
Hopefully, this drug will be developed quickly enough to help reduce the impact of the disease and keep it from spreading further. Read more about Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and their development of Ebola treatments here.