Talking about the Ebola Outbreak with BU Experts on the Disease

in Featured, In The News
July 22nd, 2019

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the yearlong Ebola outbreak in the Congo a global health emergency on Wednesday, one team of BU scientists had a particularly vested interest in that decision: the medical researchers at the University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), who one year ago began working on samples of the Ebola virus.

Nahid Bhadelia, a School of Medicine assistant professor of infectious diseases and the medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston Medical Center, runs NEIDL’s medical response program. She says the WHO’s decision to declare a global health emergency has been complicated by ongoing wars and conflicts in Congo, but adds that the decision was overdue considering that the outbreak has raged since last August and infected at least 2,500 people and killed nearly 1,700.

“I don’t envy the position they were in,” she says. “If you asked me if they waited too long, I think they did.”

BU Today caught up with Bhadelia and John Connor, a MED associate professor of microbiology, to talk about the outbreak—the second largest in history—as well as about BU’s progress in researching ways to better fight and contain the Ebola virus worldwide. (Live Ebola virus research can be conducted only in a lab that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has designated as BioSafety Level-4, its highest classification—BU’s NEIDL is one of only 13 such labs across the United States.)

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