The push for a vaccine against Ebola, the virus that killed 11,000 people in Africa in 2014, appears now to be close to success. The New York Times and other international news organizations report that the World Health Organization has announced a “prototype” vaccine that is up to 100 percent effective, at least in test cases so far.
That would put the vaccine on target for approval by 2018. Some 6,000 people in Guinea were given the test vaccine in 2015, and not one of them got the disease that comes from the virus.
The Ebola panic was real, though its impact in the United States was minimal. That said, the push for a vaccine though slow at first illustrated what can be done if the world’s scientific community unites in an effort to address a potentially worldwide health crisis. Ebola is a truly horrible disease with a mortality rate of 40 percent, and death is painful and violent for victims.
It took some time to get enough attention to drive a full-out scientific push to find a vaccine, but once that effort was focused scientists worked together to get the deed done. And get it done they did.