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Vaccine Developed Against Ebola

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the thwarting-incredibly-implausible-doomsday-scenarios dept.

Medicine 100

New submitter Lurching writes "Scientists have developed a vaccine that protects mice against a deadly form of the Ebola virus. First identified in 1976, Ebola fever kills more than 90% of the people it infects. The researchers say that this is the first Ebola vaccine to remain viable long-term and can therefore be successfully stockpiled. The results are reported in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (abstract)."

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Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288494)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (0)

RobbieCrash (834439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288512)

+5 funny for cosmonaut mondegreen.

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (0)

Aerorae (1941752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288520)

this may be a sign of my generation/youngness speaking...but....whut?

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (0, Offtopic)

Nugoo (1794744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288530)

A mondegreen [urbandictionary.com] is a misheard song lyric.

Re:Happy Holidays from the Golden Girls! (0)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288548)

It's got a slightly more literary scope [wikipedia.org] , not just song lyrics; originally it was poetry. Also popular are malapropisms [wikipedia.org] , wherein the speaker makes a comparable error, not the listener.

Thank goodness (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288526)

The mice will be spared.

Re:Thank goodness (4, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288558)

Not really:

The vaccine protects 80% of the mice injected with the deadly strain,

If they say you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, then you have to kill a few hundred mice and rats to make a vaccine. Do your part to save the mice—force your kids to grow up to be computational chemists! (Routine simulated biology is probably on the "fifteen-to-twenty" years off range; i.e. conceivable but challenging and difficult to commercialize.)

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288608)

(Follow-up: the paper clarifies that they only tested with eight groups of ten mice each. The above estimate of "a few hundred" was a tiny bit overkill—outside of the private sector. *rimshot*)

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289578)

(Follow-up: the paper clarifies that they only tested with eight groups of ten mice each. The above estimate of "a few hundred" was a tiny bit overkill—outside of the private sector. *rimshot*)

Are these cheap mice? Genetically special mice like tumor mice can cost $100,000 each.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289650)

I'm pretty sure they're regular ol' Mus musculus. It's something of a value add [problogservice.com] situation, where the magic comes from the vaccination they received in the lab.

Re:Thank goodness (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289750)

I am not sure where you are shopping for your mice but where I shop you can get them for between $90 (http://jaxmice.jax.org/strain/002376.html) and $2000 (http://jaxmice.jax.org/strain/010562.html) depending on how the stock is maintained.
Making targeted genetic modifications in mice from scratch costs about $15,000-$20,000

Re:Thank goodness (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38298566)

I thought $2 each was too expensive , so I started breeding them. (pet snakes).
After having to put up with the smell when cleaning their enclosures/feeding/etc, I'm starting to think $2 was a fair price.

It's kind of amazing how one mouse makes more stink than a bunch of rats, each 10x the size.

I know these are certified strains and all that, but that's a pretty hefty mark-up.

Re:Thank goodness (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288634)

Obligatory Futurama:

Amy: "Like the heaps of dead monkeys."
Professor: "Science can't move forward without heaps!"

Re:Thank goodness (4, Funny)

hat_eater (1376623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289096)

Science moves forward by heaps and mounds!

Re:Thank goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38291186)

And, if you're lucky, explosions!

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292490)

Science (and most work in general) tends to grind to a halt when mounds are in view.

-

Re:Thank goodness (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38291066)

At the risk of sounding like an after-school special, I think we learned who the real animal was today.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289420)

60% of the time, it works every time!

-- Anchorman

Re:Thank goodness (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38290506)

There is no conceivable way to do vaccine research without animals. Computational chemistry or biology does not apply here. The gold standard for a vaccine is whether or not it protects from challenge with the the pathogen, and secondarily if it generates a good neutralizing antibody titer and robust T cell response. These are things we know very little about in the big picture. We know enough of the variables to build testable models, but we don't know >99$% of the variables. This is something non-biologists fail to understand, and that's why we've got to use animals in research for the foreseeable future--probably 150-200 years, not 15-20.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290566)

Sorry, I know this is way off topic, but I can't help but post this quote from A Bit of Fry and Laurie (Great Brit sketch comedy available on Netflix Instant) about breaking eggs:

You and I, we broke a few moulds in our time, eh, Gordon?

-Yeah, and a few eggs. -Yeah.

-Eggs? -You can't make an omelette...

-Yes, I can. -No, you can't.

-Yes, I can. -Not without breaking eggs.

So what if I can't, Gordon?

I mean, I'm a busy man. My talents lie in other directions.

No, no. I mean, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

What is this, Cookery Corner? I don't need this, Gordon, all right?

I'm about to have a working breakfast with the toughest divisional sales manager since Moses
and all of a sudden you're giving me a list of all the things I can't do!

Thanks for the support, partner.

-No, Stu, I only meant... -What am I supposed to say?

''Derek, I'm not right for this job, choose someone else. I can't make an omelette.''

-No, you can, Stu. But not without... -It's delegation, Gordon. I don't have the time.

I want an omelette, I go to an omelette-maker. Does that make me a failure?

All right, I'm a failure. I can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Well, no one can, Stu. That's the point. It's impossible.

-What do you mean, it's impossible? -It can't be done.

What do you think I've been eating all these years? I had an omelette last night.

Yeah, but they broke the eggs.

I hardly think they'd use broken eggs in executive room service, Gordon.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#38291808)

How hard is it to move from IT to computational chemist? I'm assuming its a ton of math and advanced biology and chemistry.

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292836)

It's basically four years of physics with little bits of biology and chemistry thrown in, followed by two years of computer science rehab to make sense of all of it. Software engineering skills are not very relevant; bad code is rampant—in fact, as if they had nothing better to do than prove that point, many important chemical simulation algorithms are still written in FORTRAN. (The other day I actually had a compile fail because g77 wasn't installed on a colleague's box. I was appalled, but only briefly.)

Re:Thank goodness (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292812)

"Do your part to save the miceâ"force your kids to grow up to be computational chemists!"

What does that pay and how much better are the working conditions than being a lab mouse?

Re:Thank goodness (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38294442)

"Potentially quite a bit" and "significantly, but only in the private sector."

Re:Thank goodness (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289070)

Sadly, it was too late for the little monkey from Friends :(

No one has seen him recently, and it is presumed that he died puking his intestines out from starring in a terrible movie.

Re:Thank goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38295008)

The mice will be spared.

Wait. Don't forget the poor critters who probably got autism!

Followed by weaponization? (2, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288620)

I mean, sure, it's against some big ol' treaties but wouldn't the first step be to nullify its effect on your own troops/people?

[/conspiracy]

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

the biologist (1659443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288874)

The military vaccinates their people against anything they might face on the job. This includes diseases for which there are commercially available vaccines (measles, etc) and diseases for which there are not (HIV, soon Ebola).

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288994)

The military vaccinates their people against anything they might face on the job. This includes diseases for which there are commercially available vaccines (measles, etc) and diseases for which there are not (HIV, soon Ebola).

A HIV vaccine? Since when?

Hehe, and interesting to see that you consider HIV something that soldiers might contract "on the job"... I thought that this particular part of a soldier's "job" was against article 27 of the Geneva Convention...

Re:Followed by weaponization? (2)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289048)

Hehe, and interesting to see that you consider HIV something that soldiers might contract "on the job"... I thought that this particular part of a soldier's "job" was against article 27 of the Geneva Convention...

There's nothing in the Geneva Convention about Thai hookers..

Re:Followed by weaponization? (4, Informative)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289072)

There's nothing in the Geneva Convention about Thai hookers..

Actually, There is:

ARTICLE 27 [icrc.org]

Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.

Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault.

Without prejudice to the provisions relating to their state of health, age and sex, all protected persons shall be treated with the same consideration by the Party to the conflict in whose power they are, without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, religion or political opinion.

However, the Parties to the conflict may take such measures of control and security in regard to protected persons as may be necessary as a result of the war.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289184)

There's nothing in the Geneva Convention about Thai hookers..

Actually, There is:

ARTICLE 27 [icrc.org]

[...] Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault.

So, ENFORCED prostitution is banned, but if they do prostitution out of their own will, then it is not banned.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292512)

I was stationed in Thailand in 1974. Unlike most of our western countries, hookers are respeced, even revered, in Thailand. Nobody has to force them.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38300610)

I have heard this too, even in conjunction with ladyboy hookers. It is strange, considering Thailand is generally a very conservative country, that having your son "become" a ladyboy, is not a thing of shame but rather it brings honour to the family.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289596)

Oh damn. A for effort digging that out. I was just making a joke but reading through that it makes sense.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289756)

You have no fucking clue how much attention is focused on this. Multiply 4-5 hours a year for (inane) training by a million people in the military, and that's a chunk of life that's just thrown away. Even better, the concern is split between two small problems that s ubjecting me to a briefing doesn't address ... prostitution in SE Asia and sketch TCN contractors.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290732)

Only applies to women. Weaponized ladyboys are permitted.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290952)

Yeah, he did say *Thai* hookers, after all.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289152)

Hehe, and interesting to see that you consider HIV something that soldiers might contract "on the job"... I thought that this particular part of a soldier's "job" was against article 27 of the Geneva Convention...

Your poor taste joke about rape is extremely stupid. What bodily fluids are soldiers exposed to, I wonder? Couldn't possibly be blood, right? I mean, war is so clean, no-one ever bleeds during a war, right?

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289174)

Hehe, and interesting to see that you consider HIV something that soldiers might contract "on the job"... I thought that this particular part of a soldier's "job" was against article 27 of the Geneva Convention...

I hope you are aware that HIV infects through all bodily fluids? You know, like blood? Ever seen photos of a battlefield? The red stuff you see is blood. If any of that gets into contact with your own wound, you might get infected with whatever pathogens are in that blood.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289334)

The military vaccinates their people

This is a disease that occurs in the Congo (Zaire), not the USA. The militias there vaccinate everyone else with bullets and rape, but don't do much for their own.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289646)

The military vaccinates their people

This is a disease that occurs in the Congo (Zaire), not the USA. The militias there vaccinate everyone else with bullets and rape, but don't do much for their own.

If you mean that Ebola doesn't happen in the USA, think again. And Florida in particular is bracing for more cases as the climate warms up. We already had Yellow Fever, added West Nile Virus recently, and also have to deal with another tropical disease: dengue.

As far as the Congo goes, it's just a pity you cannot vaccinate against warlords and other idiots. Or at least do like we do and make them Wall Street executives.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

Stachybotris (936861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290078)

Ebola in Florida? A (very) quick google doesn't show any results other than doctors' offices that claim to screen for it or provide summary information about it. Can you provide some articles / references? I mean, sure, there was the Reston, VA case, but that's the only state-side incident I've ever heard of. Not that I've heard of everything, mind you, but a virus like Ebola tends to make pretty loud news when it rears its head...

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38291370)

West Nile Virus? Yawn. Scary name, probably the most innocuous virus you can get infected by in Florida. For the overwhelming majority of people who get it, it's basically flu without a runny nose (ie, fever, muscle aches, and malaise). You obviously don't want to go out and TRY to get it, but the media hysteria over it was WAY out of proportion to the actual risk.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (4, Insightful)

kusanagi374 (776658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289554)

Of course they might contract it on the job! What about having someone else's blood splattered all over your face, when you have no idea of where he might've been before dying? You don't have to necessarily fuck someone up the ass to get HIV.

Re:Followed by weaponization? (0, Troll)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289586)

You don't have to necessarily fuck someone up the ass to get HIV.

True. You can actually get more easily it by having someone fuck you in the ass...

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292228)

HIV is no more a "sexually transmitted disease" than influenza is; you can catch either disease having sex and in fact your odds of catching the flu are far greater. HIV is transmitted through blood. Which means that if you're in a knife fight with someone with HIV, you're far more likely to catch AIDS than if you had vaginal intercourse with her; if her blood hits your open wound, you're probably infected.

Most cases of HIV have come form tainted transfusions, shared needles, and anal sex (the tissues tear and the infected semen gets in the blood).

Re:Followed by weaponization? (1)

the biologist (1659443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38294994)

Some of those vaccine studies were considered failures because they only showed a 40% reduction in infection rate. For dealing with the public health disaster that is the HIV/AIDS pandemic, that is not enough to deal with the human behavior to increase risky behavior when they think they're protected. For reducing the odds that your soldiers will be permanently taken off active duty, it is plenty enough.

Evidence you want? The HIV western blots I ran for the military for years would sometimes turn up soldiers who had a strong immune protection to HIV, but not have results consistent with infection. Anecdotal, yes, but you're not getting anything else.

How do you think humans got HIV to begin with, screwing chimpanzees? (Really, you thought that?) It was from the butchering of chimpanzees, blood spatter getting into eyes/mouth/nose/etc. Blood spatter, like in wartime.

Oh yes, I actually am a biologist.

The fact that we know about it is a good sign (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289870)

If a lot of people know about the vaccine, it will be harder for them to do that. So be reassured that you know about it. If you are afraid of weaponization, and want to do something about it, post this story on your blog/Facebook. I actually predict most countries are going to stay within the Biological Weapons Convention.

Well, there goes an old fiction favorite (1)

jwijnands (2313022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288646)

Not really credible any more for use in fiction, a weaponized version of ebola. Tom Clancy will just have to thing of something else.

Re:Well, there goes an old fiction favorite (1, Funny)

u38cg (607297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288892)

Why? He's never had an original idea before.

Re:Well, there goes an old fiction favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289082)

He had one good idea. Apart from red october, all of his books suck.

Re:Well, there goes an old fiction favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289210)

of course, that is your opinion.

Re:Well, there goes an old fiction favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38301550)

You're right, red october sucked too.

Re:Well, there goes an old fiction favorite (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289374)

You think the lab down the hall isn't working on a new strain of Ebola that this vaccine doesn't protect against? I'm going to have to ask you to hand in your tin foil hat.

Re:Well, there goes an old fiction favorite (1)

meglon (1001833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289442)

Ebola wasn't very good anyway, it kills too fast to be much of a good, old fashioned, plague starter. On the other hand, there is at least one chemical agent from the old USSR arsenal which does somewhat the same thing, only it's nice enough to liquify large parts of the soft tissue afterwards.

That's nice (-1, Troll)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288676)

But there are 17 labs on Earth working to weaponize Ebola. This vaccine is unlikely to be effective against the weaponized strain because the infectious genes are likely to be cribbed from influenza with completely different modality. Ebola Reston, the only known airborne variety (and considerably less fatal), is unlikely to have been captured by terrorists, but various interests are patrolling Africa seeking samples of emergent strains, including Hezbolla, the Taliban and the CDC. When they get them they will employ the latest gene splicing techniques as well as Mendellian methods to emerge a hemorrhagic virus that's airborne, incubates for three weeks, and kills 90% of the exposed population. Then they will deliberately infect hundreds of martyrs immediately before their pre-approved flights to various US cities, with instructions to commingle with the population as much as they can - unaware they've been infected with the dire virus.

And then our modern world is over. The US doesn't know who did it, so they have to broad-spectrum nuke the rest of the world back to the stone age so the surviving Americans have a chance. And then the virus wipes out most of the survivors in the rest of the world as they come in contact with it. But there was no time to immunize the US, so it too suffered.

So here's the plot: Nation A immunizes their entire population against Ebola, and - thinking they're safe - launches their Ebola dispensing satellites around the world. The Ebola mutates, so while 80% of the Western world is bleeding to death out their anus, only 60% of the rest of the world is. But then the western labs, knowing it's the end - unleash their version of hemorragic influenza on the world, killing 90% of the survivors. The nukes fly, rendering 98% of the planet uninhabitable. Between the evolutions of the virii and the nukes, the world's population is diminished from 7 billions to maybe 1 million.

And then because CO2 output dropped, the glaciers come and pare us back to maybe 100,000.

You see if I experiment with fission to create the elements I need for a nuclear weapon no matter what I do, no matter how I control it, no matter how well it's shielded, the damned thing is going to give off neutrino emissions that make it glow like the sun to spy satellites and uninterested observers the world over. But if I splice genes in my basement nobody knows but me and my precious virii.

Sounds like a party. I'm in.

Re:That's nice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288794)

just 1 correction: it will not be hizbollah or taliban who engineer the virus, it will be US corporations (maybe "outsourced") - then they will make us believe it was terrorist country/group/organization xyz (whatever US doesn't like at that moment)
YUK!

Re:That's nice (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288858)

The issue isn't "Who will do it". It is "It can be done, therefore it will be done."

Re:That's nice (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288890)

no offense, but i hope you're not in charge for something important... :P

Re:That's nice (2)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289002)

I find your ideas interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter...
I mean, seriously you are so full of shit. I'm not going to waste my time picking your argument apart, just a few choice quotes:

17 labs on Earth working to weaponize Ebola

Woah, that's a precise number. Out of your magic 8 ball ?

Mendellian methods

It's called 'evolution'. And the radical terrorists don't believe in it, haven't you heard ?

give off neutrino emissions that make it glow like the sun to spy satellites

Learn the difference between neutrons and neutrinos. The latter are incredibly hard to detect (and currently at the heart of the 'faster than light' debate, but I digress), it takes a detector the size of a mountain.

Re:That's nice (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290484)

it takes a detector the size of a mountain.

Actually, it only takes a detector the size of a salt mine.

Re:That's nice (1)

sveinungkv (793083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38291022)

Mendellian methods

It's called 'evolution'. And the radical terrorists don't believe in it, haven't you heard ?

According to his own manifesto Anders Behring Breivik, the guy that tried bombed a government building in Norway before he went to the ruling party’s youth camp and started shooting people, believe in evolution.

Re:That's nice (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38293138)

give off neutrino emissions that make it glow like the sun to spy satellites

Learn the difference between neutrons and neutrinos. The latter are incredibly hard to detect (and currently at the heart of the 'faster than light' debate, but I digress), it takes a detector the size of a mountain.

You're obviously lying. There's no way we have any spy satellites the size of a mountain.

Re:That's nice (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38302168)

You imply that someone, somewhere has a spy satellite that can detect neutrinos.

Evidence, please. Including some basic physics for the detector.

Re:That's nice (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289004)

And then because CO2 output dropped, the glaciers come and pare us back to maybe 100,000.

Nice!

LOL (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289400)

Ebola Reston, the only known airborne variety (and considerably less fatal), is unlikely to have been captured by terrorists, but various interests are patrolling Africa seeking samples of emergent strains, including Hezbolla

And here I thought that Hezbollah was a human organization --- now you tell me it's an emergent strain of Ebola? Cute, it even rhymes!

(Next time, check the possible associations in your phrasing.)

<mind wanders>
If only there could be vaccines against (other's) human aggression....

Re:That's nice (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289462)

But there are 17 labs on Earth working to weaponize Ebola. I hear there are 57 varieties of Ebola too. More seriously if some nation were to mysteriously start inoculating its population against some rare pathogen such as ebola, it is rather likely that it would be noticed. It's also likely that in the period of time taken for this contagion to spread that said nation would be on the receiving end of nuclear volleys lobbed at it by the infected countries.

Re:That's nice (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292746)

More seriously if some nation were to mysteriously start inoculating its population against some rare pathogen such as ebola, it is rather likely that it would be noticed.

Depends. If it was done in North Korea, nobody would even hear about it. In other oppresive-ish (think Muslim theocracies) nations it could be pulled off, too - build a flu-vaccine program to inoculate your whole population, then, after a couple year, swap out the vaccines and make it clear to the doctors doing the injecting that any unwanted publicity will be met with disappearances.

It would be harder to do it in the West, sure, but we're the ones least likely to resort to biological warfare, anyway. It's all those little fanatical tin-pot dictatorships that you should be worried about.

YES!! (3, Funny)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289178)

Finally monkey meat again! :-P

Re:YES!! (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289506)

Sadly we can't eat the monkees or at least the gorillaz and there music till we perfect a HIV vaccine if I recall my HIV origins theories anyways

Tiny battle against the war. (-1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289358)

While I'm not trying to diminish the hard work and effort of those involved in developing this vaccine, was this really that necessary?

Ebola is deadly, that is obvious. But that is exactly what makes it a rather limited threat to society. The speed at which death comes in is rapid enough to actually discourage widespread infection, which is why I question the overall benefit in the big picture here when you look at the laundry list of diseases that are killing FAR more people around the globe every day.

Ironic we can find a cure for arguably the deadliest virus known to man, and yet somehow, almost as if it were being (dare I say it) suppressed, we "can't" seem to find a cure for MS, HIV/AIDS, herpes, cancer...even the common cold.

And no, I don't wish to spark some deep scientific debate on how cancer or the common cold is so complex that us laymans cannot even fathom how difficult a task it is compared to Ebola. I see little point in such a debate because I do believe that suppression is going on. One thing is for certain in the medical community. It is far more profitable to treat diseases than to cure them....profitable enough to allow greed and corruption to control research and results.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (5, Insightful)

Interfacer (560564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289564)

I work for a big pharma company, as a sysadmin. I don't know much about the science though.

Any company finding a cure for HIV or cancer or the common cold would have its stock skyrocket, turning the board instant billionaires.
Somehow I have trouble believing that they would suppress a cure, just for the purpose of being evil at their own expense.

And it isn't a cure, in case you missed that. It is a vaccine. Like the vaccine against smallpox. Once you get smallpox or ebola, your chances still suck.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38293706)

I work for a big pharma company, as a sysadmin. I don't know much about the science though. Any company finding a cure for HIV or cancer or the common cold would have its stock skyrocket, turning the board instant billionaires.

Once in the mid nineties I was in a car wreck, and looking at the X-Rays the radiologist remarked that I had spinal arthritis. I said "I know, when are you guys going to find a cure for arthritis?"

He just smiled and said "there's no money in cures; we do treatments."

Cure you and you're only their customer once. Treat you and you're a customer forever. And... it seems a little perverse to me that you are a doctor's customer. In other countries, doctors have patients. You can bet that if any pharma comes up with a cure for a disease they have a profitable treatment for, they're going to bury it as deeply as they can.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38302824)

Radiologists don't really invent treatments either, they mostly focus on imaging, so his opinion (and thus your anecdote) is irrelevant.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38297796)

I work for a big pharma company, as a sysadmin. I don't know much about the science though.

Any company finding a cure for HIV or cancer or the common cold would have its stock skyrocket, turning the board instant billionaires.

And I would have no problem believing your theory, except for the fact that they currently earn trillions by perpetuating a disease instead of curing it. Greed is far more powerful than most people can even remotely fathom.

And remember, anyone on a board overseeing anything related to big pharma is already obscenely rich, so for them to simply throw away the very revenue stream that put them there in the first place would NOT be as quick a decision as you might think.

Somehow I have trouble believing that they would suppress a cure, just for the purpose of being evil at their own expense.

When evil generates trillions of dollars and guarantees the good ol' boy network of cronyism will continue to prosper vs. considering the benefit and well-being of all mankind, I'd bet my first born as to who will win that battle.

And it isn't a cure, in case you missed that. It is a vaccine. Like the vaccine against smallpox. Once you get smallpox or ebola, your chances still suck.

You're right, and I stand corrected. Ironically, I should have caught that, because this is usually as far as we get with most diseases anyway. Ever wonder why we seem to stop at a vaccine and never a cure? It's simple, because vaccines are yet another form of perpetual treatment, with an equally perpetual revenue stream.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289600)

Cancer is really thousands of different diseases. They are so dissimilar that they really should have completely different names. But we don't for historic reasons.

A vaccine is not really a "cure", is a strong hint to your immune system. In many ways something like ebola is easier to deal with since it is certainly not in its natural host in the first place. While the likes of influenza is, or more accurately has evolved to survive against our immune system.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

tuxicle (996538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290132)

Ebola is a possible bio-weapon. Any vaccine developed would have an immediate market within the armed forces - quite an incentive to develop one, if you ask me.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38292682)

Bio-weapons are normally chosen based on a few criteria:

1.) Deadly
2.) Spreads easily
3.) Gestation period where the infected show little to no symptoms

The last one is key. Ebola may meet the first two, but easy to tell who is infected. That greatly improves the odds of a quarantine working against the disease. That's why influenza is a much bigger scare, even though Ebola has a much higher fatality rate. It's hard to tell if you have the flu or if it's something else like a cold + fatigue.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

Stachybotris (936861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290144)

I would suspect that the vaccine, once as reasonably perfected as possible, would be intended for healthcare workers, researchers, and other individuals who are likely to be exposed to the virus as an occupational hazard, rather than something for mass consumption. Alternatively, if we hear of an outbreak we can ship in a crate of the vaccine and use it as an immediate prophylaxis for the residents of the area to even further limit the number of deaths.

Besides, filoviruses have a rather fascinatingly unique structure. If we can make an effective vaccine against one of those, the techniques developed in the process make it easier to create vaccines against other nasty viruses with similar traits.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290172)

Stop being paranoid. Any drug company that would invent a cure for HIV or cancer would make a fortune. Any competitors who rely on treating those diseases instead of curing them would go out of business.

Of those diseases you mentioned, only HIV, herpes, and the common cold are caused by a virus and can therefor be compared to Ebola. HIV and herpes are retroviruses, which can insert themselves in a cell's DNA and thus lie dormant (and undetectable) for a long time, and both target cell-types that can live for years/decades. Neither is as deadly as Ebola, but both are much more persistent. HIV also mutates rapidly, making it even harder to fight.

The common cold is not a single disease, virus, it's actually hundreds of different ones (caused by as many different viruses) that have very similar symptoms. Curing any single one is not that hard. Curing every single one is a challenge.

As for cancer, all cancers are different (after all, they tend to result from damaged DNA, which can happen in any number of ways). Fighting cancer cells without damaging the rest of the body is very hard because they're so closely related.

Surely none of the above is too 'complex' for a layman like you to understand?

> I see little point in such a debate because I do believe that suppression is going on.

Good for you, but in that case why even bring up those other diseases, as by your own admission the complexity of curing such diseases is irrelevant to your belief that cures for those diseases are being suppressed?

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38298580)

Stop being paranoid. Any drug company that would invent a cure for HIV or cancer would make a fortune. Any competitors who rely on treating those diseases instead of curing them would go out of business.

Of those diseases you mentioned, only HIV, herpes, and the common cold are caused by a virus and can therefor be compared to Ebola. HIV and herpes are retroviruses, which can insert themselves in a cell's DNA and thus lie dormant (and undetectable) for a long time, and both target cell-types that can live for years/decades. Neither is as deadly as Ebola, but both are much more persistent. HIV also mutates rapidly, making it even harder to fight.

The common cold is not a single disease, virus, it's actually hundreds of different ones (caused by as many different viruses) that have very similar symptoms. Curing any single one is not that hard. Curing every single one is a challenge.

As for cancer, all cancers are different (after all, they tend to result from damaged DNA, which can happen in any number of ways). Fighting cancer cells without damaging the rest of the body is very hard because they're so closely related.

Surely none of the above is too 'complex' for a layman like you to understand?

> I see little point in such a debate because I do believe that suppression is going on.

Good for you, but in that case why even bring up those other diseases, as by your own admission the complexity of curing such diseases is irrelevant to your belief that cures for those diseases are being suppressed?

I bring up all those other diseases because I believe we've either found a cure for them, or we've come a LOT farther than we are today, and it's merely the greed of the entire industry acting as a whole protecting its profits and ensuring their survivability.

Those are also most of the diseases that keep the population numbers from exploding. Whether you want to believe it, or even think it, resource management is the job of every major Government on this planet. And they're all struggling with it. Think we won't go the way of Soylent Green a few decades from now? Sure didn't take us long to rack up another billion people on this tiny little planet of ours, and I'm not seeing too many options to leave this rock anytime soon.

Go read about a man named Burzynski and how bad he was crucified for bringing merely a better treatment and survivability rate for many cancers today. He didn't even bring forth a vaccine or a true cure, and yet they were absolutely relentless in trying to suppress him and keep his discovery a secret or illegal. Think the industry doesn't act as a whole and true competition is allowed? Yeah, right.

If it's hard to believe that's OK. Just hold your breath for another decade or seven, and watch us continue to struggle with the same diseases and no vaccines or cures.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38301124)

> I bring up all those other diseases because I believe we've either found a cure for them, or we've come a LOT farther than we are today,

On what basis do you believe this (not that the cure is being suppressed, but that the cure has already been invented)?

> Those are also most of the diseases that keep the population numbers from exploding.

Really? Very few people die of the common cold, and herpes tends to not kill at all, nor does it have a chance to make you infertile like some other STDs. MS is not infectious and quite rare (much too rare to have a significant impact on population growth), and the first symptoms start showing in the late thirties/early forties, by which time many people already have children. Cancer also mostly affects old people who have already had a chance to reproduce, so once again population growth is largely unaffected. As for HIV, with modern treatment life expectancy is between 20 to 50 years for newly diagnosed patients, and with proper treatment there is only a 1% or 2% chance of passing it on from mother to child. Furthermore HIV is more prevalent amongst homosexual males, who were quite unlikely to make a significant contribution to population growth anyway. While HIV is very common in some parts of Africa, in the rest of the world it's very uncommon.

In short, none of these diseases result in a significant decrease in population growth, because they're either not dangerous, too rare, or primarily affect people who already have children. In addition, individuals who are affected by some of these diseases have to take treatment that is very expensive compared to letting them live a few years longer and die of other causes, so there is not even a financial incentive for 'the government' to suppress a cure.

As for Burzynski, it appears nobody has been able to reproduce his results. How do you explain this? Perhaps everybody who isn't a layman is involved in this grand conspiracy of yours?

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38290258)

It is far more profitable to treat diseases than to cure them...

Even if this is true (which I am not convinced that it is), it overlooks one very important point. If Company A supresses research into curing BIG DISEASE so that it can continue to profit from treating BIG DISEASE, it runs the risk that Company B will develop a cure for that disease. If the latter happens, no only will Company A not make money from selling the cure for BIG DISEASE, they will no longer make money from treating BIG DISEASE. Additionally, they will have lost out on the opportunity for the positive PR of being the company that developed the cure for BIG DISEASE.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38298206)

It is far more profitable to treat diseases than to cure them...

Even if this is true (which I am not convinced that it is), it overlooks one very important point. If Company A supresses research into curing BIG DISEASE so that it can continue to profit from treating BIG DISEASE, it runs the risk that Company B will develop a cure for that disease. If the latter happens, no only will Company A not make money from selling the cure for BIG DISEASE, they will no longer make money from treating BIG DISEASE. Additionally, they will have lost out on the opportunity for the positive PR of being the company that developed the cure for BIG DISEASE.

Don't assume the suppression is limited to inside big pharma. Look at the big picture. Your Government certainly is.

Why would they want to allow the release of a cure for a disease that does quite well in culling the population, and keeping that population growth from exploding faster than it already is. That may sound very evil and ugly, but resource management is a very real responsibility of many Governments today. And our current rate of population growth isn't making that job any easier for anyone. Think people living longer is a good thing in the long run? Think again.

Not to mention the risk of collusion within a trillion dollar industry. Hell, if collusion is a massive problem at the virtual poker table online with maybe a few thousand at stake, what makes you think big pharma as a whole would not do the exact same thing when trillions are at stake? It's not just Company A vs. Company B. It's an entire industry, out to protect it's profits as a whole. Once a cure is found, there WILL be a terminal end-date to that revenue stream, so even when you win, you lose. This is why I believe we will rarely (if ever) actually see a true cure for many of the diseases we're fighting today.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38298340)

And our current rate of population growth isn't making that job any easier for anyone.

You obviously have not been paying attention. Every first world country has reason to be concerned about how slow their population is growing. Europe has negative population growth. Additionally, every industrialized nation has structured their retirement systems on the assumption that those working will provide the resources for those who have retired to live a comfortable life.
You, also, seem to be under the impression that once a disease is cured that no one will ever get it again. When we develop a cure for cancer, you will continually have people who need that cure. Cancer is not going to disappear when a cure is developed. It is just that people who get it will get cured. The other problem with your way of thinking is that you seem to think that someone who has been cured of cancer will never get it again. Since cancer is primarily the result of a person's own cells going rogue, that seems improbable.
As an example, antibiotics are the cure for pneumonia yet people still get pneumonia all the time. Some people get it more than once in their lifetime.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38298798)

And our current rate of population growth isn't making that job any easier for anyone.

You obviously have not been paying attention. Every first world country has reason to be concerned about how slow their population is growing. Europe has negative population growth. Additionally, every industrialized nation has structured their retirement systems on the assumption that those working will provide the resources for those who have retired to live a comfortable life.

Concerned? This isn't some shallow discussion about how China and Indias growth is forcing more and more outsourcing. First world or third world, what the hell is the difference when we have a finite amount of resources for all of us, and we managed to tack on another billion inhabitants on this tiny rock in record time(yeah, we even beat the baby "boomer" generation). And those estimates are slowing, but by a tiny fraction, and not near the rate we ultimately need to survive. So what ultimately happens when Governments are in charge of managing limited resources and we find that a natural rate of death isn't enough to sustain life? Take a guess. (I'll give you a hint. Evil shit happens.)

And that last comment about retirement systems is laughable when you look at the state of Social Security. I'm certainly not counting on that to even exist a few decades from now, much less get a penny back from it.

You, also, seem to be under the impression that once a disease is cured that no one will ever get it again. When we develop a cure for cancer, you will continually have people who need that cure. Cancer is not going to disappear when a cure is developed. It is just that people who get it will get cured. The other problem with your way of thinking is that you seem to think that someone who has been cured of cancer will never get it again. Since cancer is primarily the result of a person's own cells going rogue, that seems improbable.

If it seems improbable to you, then perhaps you should take a closer look at Antineoplastons, and how they could be developed into literally a preventative treatment (vitamin if you will) against most cancers.

Then you can take a look at the man behind that discovery, and the absolute relentless attack against him for merely finding a better treatment(not a cure) for many of our deadliest cancers. An attack brought forth no doubt by an industry acting as a whole to protect its profits.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38299056)

OK, you believe in quackery. Yeah, you can take a look at the man behind antineoplastons and see someone who is eager to take advantage of anyone who is gullible enough to give him money. First clue that he is a quack, nobody else can reproduce his results. He is the sort of guy who was pushing laetrile in the 70s.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38301002)

OK, you believe in quackery. Yeah, you can take a look at the man behind antineoplastons and see someone who is eager to take advantage of anyone who is gullible enough to give him money. First clue that he is a quack, nobody else can reproduce his results. He is the sort of guy who was pushing laetrile in the 70s.

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps not. But there is one rather odd fact to consider there. Seems rather strange that those investing a considerable amount of time and money to try and silence that "quack" would not have gone through the effort over many years had there not been an actual valid threat to the industry. That logic flows regardless of what is being scrutinized.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38301184)

People said the same thing about laetrile.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292084)

It is far more profitable to treat diseases than to cure them....profitable enough to allow greed and corruption to control research and results.

But is it more profitable to let the competition treat a disease than it is for your company to cure it? The whole "cures are being supressed for profit" only works if there is only one medical company AND it is impressively farsighted, not wanting the billions upon billions they could make curing AIDS or cancer now. And somehow simultaneously too shortsighted to see that a population not dying from cancer is an ageing population, and that an ageing population will need even more medicine in the long run.

Re:Tiny battle against the war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38293254)

Ironic we can find a cure for arguably the deadliest virus known to man, and yet somehow, almost as if it were being (dare I say it) suppressed, we "can't" seem to find a cure for MS, HIV/AIDS, herpes, cancer...even the common cold.

MS is a neurological issue, and they are almost all difficult to treat. They are often due to genetic defects in the body itself, so unlike bacteria or viruses you can't just kill of the bad stuff since you kinda need your brain.

HIV and the common cold mutate rapidly and hence it is very difficult to develop a vaccine. By the time it would be out of clinical trials there would be mutated versions of the strain that the vaccine does not protect against. HIV has the additional nuisance of infecting the body's memory-cells, which is what provides imunity for decades during typical vaccination. As a consequence, even if you clear the bloodstream of HIV , the infected imune cells can still produce HIV particles decades latter.

Cancer is your own cells going haywire, and for many types of cancer we have effective treatments. Skin cancer has a very high survival rate to take an example. The trouble usually occurs with cancer that spread to many vital organs , or very sensitive organs ( such as lung cancer ) , as that makes it very difficult to remove it without killing vital healthy tissue. In addition some cancers occur without symptoms for years, meaning that by the time you realize you have them they have often spread or caused enough trouble to be extremely difficult to treat. Nevertheless, many lifestyl factors can be altered to reduce your cancer risk by up to 40%. Avoid tobacco, eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and drink less than 7 units of alcohol per week.

Herpes is another nuisance in that the virus "hides" in parts of the nerve system where the immune cells can't get to it. As with other viruses it cannot be treated with antibiotics ( since it infects your own cells and trick them into producing more virus particles ) , making it tricky to kill it without hurting healthy cells.

In general, almost no viral diseases can be "cured" once you are infected. You just have to wait for the body to fight them off. In some cases a vaccine can help prevent them, but this doesn't work well for viruses that mutate rapidly, or those viruses that can damage or evade the immunity system.

Cancers, neurological problems, genetic disorders and autoimune diseases can be hard to treat because they involve the body's own tissue. Thus you cannot just kill them off without risking serious side effects.

Basically, bacteria and yeast infections are generally much easier to treat for the simple reason that they are quite different from your own cells, and thus there's a wide range of compounds that are harmless to us, yet lethal to the pathogens. Unfortunately abuse and misuse of antibiotics, as well as lacking access to healthcare has resulted in quite a few bacterial strain developing antibiotics resistance.

Just a reminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38290100)

While the press covers Ebola millions die each year from Malaria. Understandable because the climate of North America and Europe is mostly not tropical but very sad nevertheless.

Ebola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38292420)

I wasn't aware that Ebola was still around. thanks for sharing the article. interesting read

Mortality rate isn't 90% (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38292468)

I know this is splitting hairs, but the mortality rate across all known subvarieties of Ebola is more like 68%, according to various sources, including Wikipedia's article about it [wikipedia.org] , which means Ebola probably isn't even in the top 10 for highest mortality. Number one is probably rabies, where there is no record of anyone having survived, ever, without medical treatment, and once symptoms of the disease have started appearing, even with the best modern medical care, less than a half-dozen people have survived.

Rabies survivors (Milwaukee protocol) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38293738)

"Giese, a teenager from Wisconsin, became the first of only six patients known to have survived symptomatic rabies without receiving the rabies vaccine."
Source: Milwaukee protocol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [wikipedia.org]

Mice ok, humans not (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38293034)

FTA:

"He said the next step is to try the vaccine on a strain of Ebola that is closer to the one that infects humans."

i.e. they've not yet tested a vaccine for the strains of Ebola (Zaire comes to mind) that infect humans, never mind actually in humans.

Autism Concerns (2)

chitokutai (758566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38293204)

My mouse is hemorrhaging blood from all the pores on his body, but at least he doesn't have autism!

This post was brought to you by the considerate folks from the McCarthy Institute of Better Science

Great (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38295244)

Seriously, just what we need, more humans running around.

Thank God (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38296946)

Doctors, nurses and others really take a serious risk in trying to help patients infected with this virus. Now those who are likely to be called in during an outbreak can be inoculated in advance of the emergencies. Ebola is such a wicked virus and so difficult to control that this is a real blessing to humanity.
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