Ebola as a Survival Problem

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Pablo Edronkin

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It look like the stuff of a zombie film but so far, no cure has been found for the Ebola virus; epidemic surges of Ebola constitute a high risk for humankind and might, hypothetically, represent a true survival problem at a planetary scale.

I am no virologist, so I cannot write authoritatively about the ebola virus from a medical point of view. But I can remind everyone about history and how epidemics became in some cases very serious threats to human existence; we should all remember, for example, the black death of the XV century.

Ebola is neither the first nor the last deadly infection confronted by humankind; however, from historical evidence such as the one I mentioned as well as many other we can see that in some cases epidemics end in the destruction of a significant part of the total population of a region, or even the whole world. It is also important to consider that this particular virus affects not only humans, but other species of mammals as well.

If we take into account that our present means of transportation allow for a much faster distribution of goods and people, it is easy to conclude that today, any infection can travel faster than in the past. Thus, as long as there is no antidote, vaccine or cure for something like ebola, in a way we are today at a higher risk than in past centuries.

True enough, we have more knowledge and technology than - say - during the XIII century. However, we should remember that even today we are finding some infections very hard to vanquish. The HIV virus is an example: More than 30 years of research in the matter only managed to tame AIDS, but no real cure has been found.

We do not know hoy long will it take to find something effective against ebola. For the sake of everyone, we should hope for the best but there is really no guarantee at this point in this regard. What if in practice, finding an effective cure against this virus proves harder than expected? What if decades are needed to find it?

Suspected Ebola victim dies in Saudi Arabia.

Ebola death toll rises; Spain to treat priest.

Why Ebola is so dangerous.

Ebola: Experimental treatments .

Combine all that with ease of communication, and we might be confronted with a scenario of global, deadly outbursts of ebola. And if we add the fact that this infection seems like a terrific biological weapon, it is only a matter of time until some terrorist, somewhere, gets his or her hands n a sample of ebola.

WHO Now Warning 'Ebola' Could Cause 'Catastrophic' Loss of Life

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