Stopping the Spread of Ebola

IFPMA's 2014 Interview Series

“The R&D Challenges in tackling Ebola”

The R&D Challenges in tackling Ebola

This IFPMA video interview with Ripley Ballou, who's in charge of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK’s) Ebola vaccine program in Rixensart, Belgium, was recorded soon after Ebola scientists and representatives from companies and regulatory bodies met at the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) headquarters in Geneva.

Click on the video to the left or click here to watch.

Key Facts about Ebola

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, west Africa involving major urban as well as rural areas as well as the most recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet, not licensed treatment proved to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies under development, including two experimental treatments that show 90% of cases are cured.
  • There is currently one FDA-approved vaccine to prevent EVD, receiving approval on December 19, 2019.