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Russian official says vaccine for Ebola virus to be developed shortly

August 21, 2014, 16:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A team of representatives of Russia’s sanitary and consumer rights supervision agency, Rospotrebnadzor, and the nation’s best virologists were leaving for Guinea Thursday
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© ITAR-TASS/Nikolai Marochkin

MOSCOW, August 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian researches and their counterparts abroad hope to finalize work on a vaccine for the so far incurable Ebola virus shortly, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said Thursday.

She said a team of representatives of Russia’s sanitary and consumer rights supervision agency, Rospotrebnadzor, and the nation’s best virologists were leaving for Guinea Thursday “to join scientists from other countries who are developing a new preparation, which will help curb the new disease that has, unfortunately, been identified.”

She said that Rospotrebnadzor is opening a mobile epidemiological laboratory in Guinea.

Golodets recalled that Russian virologists, including experts from the St Petersburg-based Pasteur Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, visited Guinea in mid-August. They did there a preliminary assessment of the situation with the Ebola epidemic outbreak that has carried away more than 1,000 human lives and has left 1,848 people infected.

Golodets said along with it the specialists’ lives were not in danger.

“We’re sending the top-rate professionals there,” she said. “All of them work with the most dangerous viruses. This is their profession and they realize the degree of their responsibility only too well and they’ll surely take all the precautions.”

As Golodets mentioned a possibility of the epidemic getting into Russia, she said this was scarcely in the cards - the epidemiological situation was stable and the authorities had taken all the preventive measures that were mandatory in this situation.

She said, among other things, control had been tightened over the passengers arriving from Africa.

“We’ve issued notifications to all the universities that have African students from the countries where cases of Ebola have been registered,” Golodets said. “We’re confident that a reliable system of control over the (epidemiological) situation in this country has been established and we trust its reliability.”

The cancellations of flights to the destinations stricken by the Ebola epidemic was off the agenda for the time being and the “troubleshooting” was still restricted to tighter control and supervision, as well as to assistance to the people manifesting possible symptoms of the disease, like high temperature.

Golodets said proper instructions had been issued to the personnel of airlines and particularly to cabin crews, who had been told to take steps proceeding from each specific case if passengers with Ebola virus symptoms were identified.

These passengers would be taken to specialized medical institutions, since the international healthcare organizations did not recommend transporting them.

No universally recognized or certified vaccine for the Ebola virus, the endemic source of which is located in Western Africa, exists today.

Researchers say that humans contract the infection from bats, monkeys, bushbucks, and guinea pigs, which some traditionalist African tribes in remote rural areas still use as food.

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