– ‘Fear a driving force’ –
He said recent history in Liberia and Sierra Leone was complicating efforts to tackle the deadly virus, which kills as many as nine-tenths of the people it infects.
“Let’s not forget that these countries are coming out of decades of civil war,” he said.
“Liberia and Sierra Leone are now trying to reconstruct themselves so there is a total lack of trust in authorities, and that combined with poverty and very poor health services I think is the explanation why we have this extensive outbreak now.”
Staff are also often poorly equipped with no protective gear or gloves, he added. READ: West Africa Ebola outbreak among ‘most challenging’ ever.
While there are a couple of experimental Ebola vaccines and treatments which have shown promising results in animals, these need to be tested on people, he added.
“I think that the time is now, at least in capitals, to offer this kind of treatment for compassionate use but also to find out if it works so that for the next epidemic, we are ready,” he said.
“It is quite clear that new viruses will emerge all the time and Ebola will come again – hopefully not to this extent.”