In the southern part of the African country of Guinea, a young boy was playing under a tree. It is typical for bats to make homes in these kinds of trees in Guinea and the boy thought nothing of it. Neither did his parents. Bats consume and discard fruit in the tree homes and some of that fruity refuse landed on the ground that the boy played upon.
Then, in March of 2013, that boy was the first of thousands to contract the Ebola virus. That young boy suffered from the disease that causes hemorrhaging in the eyes, ears and mouth, as well as bouts of severe diarrhea and vomiting. Eventually, patient zero succumbed to the disease that would eventually spread like wildfire across the region and cause a global health scare in 2014 and 2015.
The Guinea Ebola Outbreak
More than 11,000 people dies in the latest Ebola outbreak in Africa, but future outbreak may have been stymied by the work of Canadian scientists. Canada, a country on the other side of the world from Africa and without a single case of the deadly disease, was able develop an Ebola virus that some say is 100% effective.
Ebola, That’s Enough
The trials started in Ground Zero — Guinea. The vaccine’s trial was named “Ebola, that’s enough” and it began with 4,000 doses in the Ebola stricken country. Bouboucar Diallo, a Canadian citizen who attended the University of Winnipeg, watched as the early results rolled in at the vaccination clinic, with some precincts reporting 100% effectiveness.
But many refused the vaccine at first, believing that the shot would give them the virus. They are correct, of course, as a vaccine injects a small part of the virus into the body in order for the body to develop the proper antibodies. But their fear was unfounded, and that disturbed Bouboucar Diallo.
The Farmer And His Wife
The Canadian travel doctor remembers one such story where a farmer cared for his wife, who had refused the vaccine from a travel clinic, as she was dying of the disease. Ebola spreads when humans contact the bodily fluids of someone infected and this farmer was at high risk. Eventually, the farmer took his wife to the city for care where she succumbed. With few options left, the farmer took the vaccine and became disease free within three weeks, without so much as a headache.
It was this anecdote that convinced Bouboucar Diallo. Beyond anecdotes, the preliminary results from the “Ebola, that’s enough” trial were astounding. The results were so good, it had the World Health Organization beaming with confidence about eventually eradicating the scourge. And to think it all came from one “ah, ha” moment inside of a lab in Winnipeg, where a Dr. Feldman conducted lab rat experiments on behalf of the Canadian health institute.