Turn on the news and chances are you will be hear about the Ebola virus.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is noted as the largest in history, especially affecting West African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. And with 13,567 people known to have contracted the virus and over 5,000 dead, the question that comes up is: Why so many? Well this is where the debate begins.
Why Isn’t There Already a Vaccine for Ebola?
This is the question that many of us are asking right now. The World Health Organization blames the drug industry’s drive for profit. WHO Director Dr. Margaret Chan states “a profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay,” referring to the impoverished African countries.
The Incredible Expense, That’s What.
One of the main reasons that there has been no Ebola vaccine out on the market yet is because of the large cost and time associated with it. It is estimated that its costs about $1.89 billion to introduce a new drug to the market. Pharmaceutical companies have a need to stay profitable. With the costs of developing new drugs being so high, Big Pharma is averse to investing in a drug that will not earn back its cost of development. This reality leads to the lack of drugs being developed for illnesses, such as Ebola, that affect poor African nations.
The damage that the virus has done is pretty obvious. Maybe with the virus spreading to other countries–like the United States–the drug industry will take this as a push for developing a vaccine. The WHO says that experimental vaccine testing on humans could begin in early 2015. But for now, many can agree that a solution to this epidemic is needed–fast.