Sobering Ebola News, Out Of Sierra Leone — Will Merck/NewLink Vaccine Be Used, In “Ring” Fashion?

Having seen this region of Sierra Leone remain free of live Ebola cases for quite a few months, this is truly a disappointing new turn — in the unpredictable chain of human epidemiological events. However, it does present an opportunity — to eradicate the ring of “contact infection” potential, via a vaccination of all known contacts. Will the health ministry in Sierra Leone mandate it? And will Merck be able to solve the logistical nightmare — to get adequate supplies of rVSV-EBOV vaccine down there — all kept at minus 60 degrees — in the Equatorial summer’s heat?

From the local overnight reports, then:

. . . .According to Clarence Roy-MacAulay of the Associated Press, two new cases of Ebola surfaced in Sierra Leone’s Tonkolili district, where a man died last week. The area has been free of the Ebola virus for months until now.

“We now know where the virus is and we are tracking its movement, by surrounding, containing and eradicating its last remaining chain of transmission,” OB Sisay of the National Ebola Response Centre said. Sisay added that the two new cases came from relatives of the man.

Authorities have also quarantined 500 people following the death. “The victim contracted the disease in the capital and then traveled to his home village to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan,” MacAulay wrote. . . .

So it goes — two steps ahead, followed by one. . . back. It was ever thus, in the progress of human history. I am just about certain that Merck will supply, free of charge, if asked to do so. Onward, with resolve.

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