Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ebola Could Reach 1.4 Million People By 2015

Experimental Ebola treatments will be tested in West Africa for the first time as part of an international initiative to fast-track trials of the most promising drugs. Pictured, a Nigerian health official wearing protective clothing waits to screen passengers for the virus at the international airport in Lagos

Experts predict up to 1.4million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone will become infected with Ebola by January, as experimental drugs are set to be tested in West Africa for the first time.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release the predictions for the two West African nations, which have shown the steadiest and most alarming spread of cases, today.

It comes as the World Health Organisation warn cases could reach 21,000 in six weeks unless efforts to curb the outbreak are ramped up.  

The disease has already claimed more than 2,600 lives in the region since February, when the latest outbreak - the largest since the virus was discovered in 1976 - began in Guinea.  
Today the Wellcome Trust announced a £3.2million grant will allow clinical trials to begin at existing Ebola treatment centres in the hardest hit areas. 

It comes as the UN Security Council declared the epidemic a threat to international peace and security, and called for an urgent response. 

Since the first cases were reported six months ago, more than 5,800 people have become infected with the virus. 

Officials say cases are continuing to increase exponentially and Ebola could infect people for years to come without better control measures.

In recent weeks, health officials worldwide have stepped up efforts to provide aid but the virus is still spreading.