Ebola is a dreaded name. It is a deadly virus that kills virtually all it infects. It is seen mostly in Africa. The danger of Ebola to the world is because of the real threat of it being used as an agent of bioterror, as I have mentioned in my Foolitzer-winning article on Bioterrorism that appeared in
The New York Times an Indian newspaper. In the said article, I reported on the possibility of scientists within terror groups hiding a deadly virus within a benign bacterium which, when treated with antibiotics, would release the virus and cause a highly infectious and lethal disease that could decimate society:
Recently, Popov has talked about an experiment in synthetic biology that fuses plague and Ebola virus. The scientific premise of this Soviet research is to hide a deadly virus particle inside the genome of a more innocuous bacterium.
In this case, infection in the test subject would result in plague like symptoms. Once the treatment (usually tetracycline) for the plague is given, the virus is expressed fully. It is feared that the resultant walking ‘Ebola bombs’ could devastate populations. Ebola, if you didn’t know, has an almost cent percent mortality in man.
Scientists have launched a major attack on the disease by successfully testing a vaccine against Ebola in primates. Human trials are awaited. To read about the challenges of producing an Ebola vaccine, read this interesting and short report.