© Reuters / Thomas Peter
Russian scientists are working on three potential Ebola vaccines which they expect to introduce as soon as in the next six months. "One of the vaccines is "already ready for clinical trials," Russia's health minister Veronika Skvortsova has announced. "We have created three vaccines," Skvortsova announced in an interview with Rossiya-1 TV. "One vaccine is based on a strain of Ebola, and the other two have been created by means of genetic engineering."
Russian virologists have also created an anti-virus drug that, they believe, could be successfully used for treating Ebola as tests have showed that that it is effective in curing Ebola-related diseases.
So far, there is now no licensed treatment or vaccine for the highly contagious disease that has killed over 4,000 people in western Africa since the start of the year and has recently started spreading beyond the region.
Now several countries are trying to develop an effective treatment. The first-ever human trials for an Ebola vaccine started in Mali earlier this week. On October 8, the first health worker received the drug. Over the course of the trial, which is being organized by the University of Maryland and Mali's Health Ministry, a total of 40 volunteers will be given the vaccine.
In Russia it's impossible to contract the Ebola virus
, Skvortsova said, adding that the country has still implemented a protection plan against the virus, which it stepped up in July.
"We are now carrying out a sanitary inspection of 7,500 flights per month, which is almost half a million people,"
she said. "Everybody coming from West Africa is under special control, especially 450 students who study in Russian universities. Sixteen of them had viral illnesses and were hospitalized, but they were not relevant to the [virus]."
Skvortsova said that 71 of Russia's airports have upgraded their security and now have thermal cameras to detect the first signs of the virus.
"Both portable and stationary thermal scanners are being used at many airports, and we are monitoring all direct and indirect flights that arrive," she said.
Russia's Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology based in Koltsovo, in the Novosibirsk region, developed Reaferon-Lipint several years ago. This vaccine proved effective in dealing with Ebola virus during laboratory tests. Also in the running for an Ebola cure are Canada, Japan and the U.S. WHO does not expect a reliable vaccine to be developed before 2015 and an estimated 30,000 doses will be required to curb the epidemic at its current level.
See the following to trace the epidemic:
Ebola: Evolution of an epidemic (INTERACTIVE MAP)