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No Ebola threat in Russia — scientist

August 14, 2014, 13:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Use of untested experimental vaccine against Ebola fever in West Africa is justified given the scale of the epidemic
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© AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh

MOSCOW, August 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian is not threatened by Ebola epidemic outbreak, head of virus ecology laboratory at Ivanovsky Virology Institute Mikhail Shchelkanov said on Thursday.

“We do not have the reasons that caused the epidemic in West Africa”, that is natural hotbeds and difficult social and economic conditions, the scientist said.

“There is always a small kernel of probability a virus will infiltrate Russia but even in theory we have no foundation for the emergence of natural hotbeds, while our medical service is so strong that even if this scenario is realized, it will be soon jugulated,” said Shchelkanov.

Use of untested experimental vaccine against Ebola fever in West Africa is justified given the scale of the epidemic, he said.

“Obviously, it is justified since it is the first time we are facing such a large-scale epidemic with such a high death toll,” said Shchelkanov who returned from West Africa on Wednesday. “The end justifies the means here. It is quite a justified and reasonable decision.

The results of untested experimental Ebola vaccine use in West Africa should be expected in six to twelve months, head of virus ecology laboratory at Ivanovsky Virology Institute Mikhail Shchelkanov said.

“We’ll see no immediate results,” said the scientist. “Not in over the short term but quite probably over the medium term.”

“Obviously, it [use of untested Ebola vaccine] is justified since it is the first time we are facing such a large-scale epidemic in such a difficult region with such a high death toll,” said Shchelkanov who returned from West Africa on Wednesday. “The end justifies the means here. It is quite a justified and reasonable decision.”

Ebola virus death toll fell thanks to work of diagnostic centres, he added.

“Mortality rate is at a high level but it would be even higher but for the diagnostic centres. Development of the laboratory diagnostic methods dropped the death count,” said the scientist who came back from fever-stricken West Africa on Wednesday.

While doctors previously dealt only with severe cases, now even milder cases were considered, and “this, naturally, drops lethality,” he said.

Ebola fever has affected 1,975, killed 1,069 - 377 in Guinea, 365 in Liberia, 334 in Sierra Leone and three in Nigeria.

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