U.S. health officials report that they have discovered a new way to make a polio-like virus which may help catch the deadly hemorrhagic fever known as Ebola in Africa, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. The Spanish flu pandemic claimed 50 million lives in 1918. The long-term consequences of this event remain to be understood, but infectious disease physicians have taken note that disease spread has decreased noticeably around the world as a result of increased health care services.

There is an important and frightening lesson for women from this story as well: vaccinating for certain diseases and illnesses is becoming more and more expensive to do and to live, causing a dangerous chasm in society between “who needs it and who can afford it.” (Women, it should be noted, are disproportionately impacted by access to health care.) In this report from the BBC, the BBC talks to Dr. Bruce Aylward, the Executive Director of the World Health Organization, about Ebola, who has stated that “an Ebola vaccine has great potential” and that “there is very broad scientific consensus that it is beneficial” to us all. Scientists have been trying to make Ebola vaccines since the 1980s, and in Africa the fight against a reinvigorated Ebola outbreak has only intensified with the arrival of an airborne and easily spread coronavirus.

The corona virus–also known as Zaire or Ebola–is picked up through close proximity to bodily fluids, infecting people “through an insidious series of steps: a tiny particle of the virus which enters their urine, blood, or saliva and spreads on their skin or into their eyes.” This “now confirmed” infection process mimics the spread of polio as a result of the virulent virus infecting the neurons in their bodies, making it known as a “polio-like” case. Although one type of viral infection, the polio virus, can be cured via anti-viral treatment, researchers don’t think that any disease or infectious disease can be cured through vaccination. The coronavirus, according to the BBC, “could be caught if someone accidentally spilled the virus on their face when they were coughing and sneezing.”

Read the full story at BBC.

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