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MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. A centre on Ebola will open in Moscow to inform people about preventive measures against the deadly virus and to develop cultural integration with African peoples, the Izvestia daily reports on Wednesday referring to one of the initiators of the project, Alexander Loginov.
“There may be a panic among the population if Ebola reaches Russia. We can already now see prejudiced attitude to people from Africa, and it can only worsen. Out task is to explain to people what is Ebola and how to avoid it so that we don’t get groundless panic,” Loginov told the newspaper.
According to the World Health Organisation, the death toll from Ebola virus in West Africa has grown to almost 4,500 people, and about 9,000 people are infected. On Monday, Russian Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova said there were no preconditions for an Ebola outbreak in Russia.
Loginov’s partner in the project is a russianized national of Benin, a graduate from a Russian medical institute who will be responsible for establishing ties with Africa. Plans are to cooperate with tour agencies that organize trips to Africa.
Loginov said they had already contacted agencies of the World Health Organisation that would provide printed matter on the virus, while the Pasteur Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology promised to provide lectors on virology. “Investment in the project is estimated at 1.5 million roubles,” he said.
Meanwhile, a department chair at the Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, Pavel Vorobyov, has sounded a skeptical note, saying the problem of Ebola is hyped at the moment. The expert believes an Ebola epidemic is impossible in Russia due to measures taken, as the virus is not airborne.
“I don’t think that some serious clinics will establish contacts (with the centre). Like in the case with AIDS and tuberculosis, the treatment and diagnostics of Ebola will be strictly controlled by the state. This is a major problem that should not be profiteered on,” he told the newspaper.
Russian scientists are close to finishing work on developing an Ebola vaccine, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets told reporters on Monday.
“Our Russian laboratory works in Guinea round-the-clock and vaccine trials continue successfully,” the deputy prime minister said. “We are close to finishing work on the vaccine,” she added.