When — not if — there’s a “fire, next time” (ref. James Baldwin). . . Merck (and its NewLink partners, along GAVI and with the original research by the Canadian Health Agency). . . will be ready. Its vaccine is now definitively 100 per cent effective against Ebola — according to large, final “ring method” vaccine study results.
[Backgrounder, from exactly one year ago — last night, here.] This is decidedly great news, for Africa primarily — but for all of us, as a broader human community of concern, as well.
From the very encouraging WHO press release, this morning then — and a bit:
. . . .An experimental Ebola vaccine was highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea, according to results published today in The Lancet. The vaccine is the first to prevent infection from one of the most lethal known pathogens, and the findings add weight to early trial results published last year.
The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, was studied in a trial involving 11,841 people in Guinea during 2015. Among the 5,837 people who received the vaccine, no Ebola cases were recorded 10 days or more after vaccination. In comparison, there were 23 cases 10 days or more after vaccination among those who did not receive the vaccine. . . .
And so we should see a quick arrest of any future viral outbreak — unless (of course) the virus is out there, right now mutating — in the wild, in some way that makes it impervious to this particular dead viral material, in a grafted simian encapsulated container. So sorry to skew ominous, near the Lord’s birth but. . .
My opening was in fact taken from a prophecy — in a song of a slave:
“God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more water, the fire next time. . . .”
And in it, Mr. Baldwin (perhaps foreshadowing the rise of the 45th President) pleads: “If we — and I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of others — do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world. . . .”
Otherwise, the next time, fire. . . this is my abiding fear. But it is also my abiding hope — that we will move beyond the need for it — catalyzed (as irony would have it) by the hate Mr. Trump encourages — to be met with “we, as a nation, are better than that — now. . .” For, as Baldwin wrote: “I think we must believe it is possible. . .”
Namaste — and amen.