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Institut Pasteur S06E01 Le virus ebola Ebola virus JeanClaude Manuguerra The Ebola virus

Institut Pasteur and SUP Biotech present quot;Moving science forwardquot; THE EBOLA VIRUS JeanClaude Manuguerra, Head of the Environment and Infectious Risks Research and Expertise Unit What is the Ebola virus? Ebola is the name of a river in Africa which gave its name to a virus that was discovered in 1976. This virus causes an often severe disease

that starts, like many viral diseases, with flulike symptoms: you feel unwell, feverish, nauseous and achy. Then after 2 or 3 days gastrointestinal symptoms start to appear – That's really the start of Ebola virus disease. That's really the start of Ebola virus disease. If you haven't succumbed to the disease after 10 days, you have a chance of surviving. Less than 20% of patients go on to develop hemorrhagic forms. Those most at risk initially are people living in or near forests,

because Ebola is a zoonotic virus, meaning that it comes from animals – probably originally from bats, with intermediate species, maybe monkeys. Ebola first emerges in people who have come into contact with contaminated bushmeat. Those who handle this meat and those who prepare it become contaminated. That's how the Ebola virus enters the human population. It then spreads between humans, and those most at risk of infection are people involved in treating the sick –

often women, but also people who wash the bodies of those who have died. The virus can then break away from its natural reservoir – we saw it in this epidemic – and begin to spread independently, especially in cities. What treatments are currently available? To avoid catching the Ebola virus, precautions should be taken: If you think a patient you are treating may have Ebola, you should use personal protective equipment, because there is no vaccine so it's vital to create a quot;physicalquot; barrier to protect yourself. Most of the treatments used on patients

address the symptoms – they tackle the effects of the virus. After a certain time, the body can begin to regain control. We saw that it was a mistake to say that there was no treatment – there are no specific treatments, but there are general treatments that most probably help save lives. Where does research stand today? In the short term we hope to get field diagnostic tests approved to enable testing closer to patients with quicker results. In the medium term, we're looking to secure proof of concept for a vaccine,

and we have a group working on the vaccine using two different approaches. A longerterm goal is improving our knowledge of the natural progression of the disease so that we know whether at certain stages we can use nonspecific, nonantiviral treatments to improve the chances of those infected by this virus. The Institut Pasteur has also created a Task Force, incorporating experts from its Paris campus and also from the Institut Pasteur International Network, in which several specialist working groups have been set up: there's an intervention group for diagnosis and a group for the development of new diagnostic tests.

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