CDC: Dire outlook for Ebola in West Africa
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used an epidemiological model to project how many people could become infected with the Ebola virus going forward.
- The CDC’s model is based on how many people each Ebola patient infects, as well as other factors. Based on this model, the CDC predicts that between 550,000 and 1.4 million people will be infected with the virus by January 15, 2015, although CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden clarified that the top-range number is "unlikely" to occur.
- The US has responded to the crisis by sending in 3,000 US troops to Ebola-stricken areas.
Although the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) official count of people who have already been infected with Ebola is slightly less than 6,000, the CDC estimates that the figures are much higher -- closer to 20,000.
Efforts to prevent the worst-case scenario center on sending in 3,000 US troops to build 17 treatment centers and train thousands of health care workers. At this point, Liberia is the hardest hit nation. Contiguous countries, such as Sierra Leone, are attempting to close off borders to prevent spread of the virus.
On the pharma front, three companies -- Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Sarepta, and Tekmira -- are leading the way and setting up clinical trials for experimental drugs. Charitable organizations have set up grants to expedite trials involving these drugs, but supplies remain limited.