Emerging and infectious diseases are having a moment for all the worst reasons, with credit due to the Ebola outbreak. But scientists studying other emerging diseases beyond Ebola are hopeful that the attention on the disease—and what can happen without available therapeutics—is here to stay.
The fact that there are no drugs or vaccines approved for Ebola isn’t for a dearth of research, but rather because there’s scant financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to take on the treatments. “We’ve been studying Ebola for almost a decade and we’ve always been interested in Ebola. It’s like the rockstar of viruses,” says Michael Katze, a professor of microbiology at the University of Washington. His team studies the responses of hosts (like animals) to viruses from Ebola to SARS to hepatitis C. “All the major players in Ebola have had vaccines tested in non-human primates”—and they work, he says.
But we lack vaccines…
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