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Ebola virus. Image: Fotolia - © Giovanni Cancemi
The Ebola virus is spreading rapidly and to an unexpected extent. The outbreak does not follow the patterns experienced in the past and the virus shows a new disease dynamic in regions, where it has never been recorded before. The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – the German Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities therefore have published a statement on the Ebola virus epidemic today.
In the statement, the academies call for the following consequences to be taken: To combat the Ebola epidemic vaccines and antivirals are urgently needed. To meet this need, the further development of experimental vaccines and medicines for clinical application needs to be accelerated. Even if the pathogen should temporarily disappear again, research must continue as a precautionary measure because another outbreak is highly probable. Such precautionary measures must also include ensuring that sufficient quantities of available vaccines and antivirals are stockpiled in case of a new outbreak. Increasing medical and social science research in this area is also vitally important for future preparedness.