Although it’s hard to say that there will never
be a cure for Ebola, it’s important to realize
that no viral infection has ever really been
cured. With bacteria, we can kill them
directly with antibiotics, but this doesn’t work
for viruses. Our way of dealing with deadly
viruses is through vaccination. Vaccination
prevent an infection, but does nothing for someone
that is already affected. A vaccine “trains”
your body to recognize the virus so as soon as the
virus enters your body, your immune system can
deal with it immediately. A way to think of a
vaccine is that it’s sort of like a fire drill for
your immune system. Your body deals with the dead
virus like it would an alive one so that when the
real thing comes, it knows what to do. Once the
virus has already spread through your body,
training the immune system doesn’t really help
because it’s too late. People have been working on
vaccines for Ebola and there seems to be a good
chance that they’ll be effective. So basically,
we don’t talk about curing a virus like Ebola, we
talk about preventing it through vaccination.
We don’t have any way of selectively killing the
virus so we prep the immune system to do the job.
Ebola is caused by a virus, and viral diseases
are very, very difficult to cure (it's why there
isn't any cure for AIDS or, for that matter, the
flu). Viruses also evolve very quickly, so
a cure wouldn't be successful for long.
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