Dr. Lobel: U.S. Scare Should Serve as Wake-Up Call
October 31, 2014
From the Grapevine — It’s been several decades since the United States last braced for a virus epidemic the likes of Ebola. But Dr. Leslie Lobel, a virologist and Ebola researcher at BGU, who has been following Ebola patients for a dozen years in Africa, says that the world’s infectious disease experts are prepared to counter the deadly outbreak.
“Fifty years ago we were dealing with eradicating polio, smallpox and yellow fever, which had similarly high mortality rates,” says the American-born Dr. Lobel.
“The world has been asleep for 40 years regarding infectious diseases and Ebola is the wake-up call.”
Dr. Lobel has been working on a vaccine for Ebola using knowledge gained from studying the immune systems of survivors in Africa. As the U.S. guards against the worst outbreak in history and the medical community speeds up vaccine research, Dr. Lobel’s work is finally gaining public attention and funding.
He’s part of an international group of researchers, drug companies and government agencies formed earlier this year by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to find the best treatment for the disease ravaging parts of West Africa.
A few experimental treatments are available in limited supply, two of which may be ready for large-scale testing in West Africa in a few months, according to a World Health Organization report, but there is still no cure.