By Septimus Kanu
The man who is credited for having isolated the EBOLA virus in the middle of the Congo forest in 1976,who is currently the head of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine yesterday revealed in Freetown that a new vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus disease,which has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Sierra Leoneans,will be available in March, 2015.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the Ministry of Information and Communications, Professor Peter Piot said they were in the country to have first hand information about the disease, do research for developing an EBOLA vaccine and getting prepared for a further outbreak.
“Since the first outbreak in 1976 in Congo, we have not been able to develop any effective cure for it. But we will make sure not to miss this opportunity to develop a vaccine that will be first implemented here in February or March,2015,” said the Professor who co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire while working at the institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium.
Professor Piot noted that the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa is unprecedented,as no country had ever been challenged by the magnitude of the current outbreak.
However,he maintained that he was hopeful the outbreak would soon end provided social mobilization continues and is intensified on a daily basis,adding that the disease would not be over in Sierra Leone until it finishes in Liberia and Guinea.
“I am urging the authorities in Sierra Leone,Liberia and Guinea to intensify prevention controls” said Professor Piot, who is also a member of the Board of the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund in Tokyo and of the Oxford Martin Commission on Future Generations.