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Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire of the Ollmann Saphire laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute, at the Kenema Government Hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire of the Ollmann Saphire laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute, at the Kenema Government Hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

By Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire

The current outbreak of the Ebola virus is the largest in history, and has been described by the World Health Organization as “the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times.”

While previous outbreaks have ended when the disease was contained and disappeared from the human population, the scope of the 2014 outbreak raises the possibility that the virus, rather than disappearing again, could become endemic – permanently persisting in human populations in one or more areas.

Currently, there are no approved treatments or vaccines for this deadly disease.

In response to this urgent need, I reached out to my colleagues around the world to create the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium, a collaborative effort of the world’s top Ebola experts to pool our knowledge and skills to find a cure as quickly as possible.

Some compounds show promise as treatments for Ebola virus and are currently being tested through fast-tracked studies. However, we are still looking urgently for a definitive cure, and more must be done.

Today, we’re launching Outsmart Ebola Together to accelerate the search for a cure. Outsmart Ebola Together is a collaboration between The Scripps Research Institute and IBM’s World Community Grid to screen millions of chemical compounds, searching for ones that can disable the Ebola virus.

Continue reading this story on Citizen-IBM.
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Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., is a Professor of Immunology and Microbial Science at The Scripps Research Institute, and Founder and Director of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium. She serves on the scientific leadership board of the Global Virus Network.
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