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Conducting Multi-Outbreak, Multi-Country Trials Essential To Efforts To Develop Ebola Treatments, Vaccines

STAT: It isn’t crazy to conduct an Ebola clinical trial in a war zone — it’s necessary
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust

“…There is no question that the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC would be far, far worse if there were no vaccine available. That vaccine exists only because of a trial in the devastating multiyear epidemic in West Africa — a trial that many at the time said was just too difficult to do. … It’s time to stop reacting to these outbreaks as discrete episodes and instead work together with a coordinated, nationally led, and internationally supported approach that learns from each outbreak so we can better prepare for the next. Multi-outbreak, multi-country trials are essential if we’re to find the best treatments for patients and the best vaccines. … We won’t ever get rid of Ebola, but we can stop outbreaks of it from turning into major regional and national epidemics. This trial of treatments [that is ongoing in the Democratic Republic of Congo], and the vaccines we now have available, offer hope that we can turn this terrifying disease into a preventable and treatable one, ensuring the loss of as few lives as possible” (12/4).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.