WASHINGTON, January 9 (Sputnik) — The United States contributed $1 million to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to use nuclear science to help combat the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, the US State Department has announced.
"The U.S. government has contributed $1 million to the International Atomic Energy Agency for a new project that will improve and streamline efforts to diagnose the Ebola virus in Africa," the State Department said in a press release Thursday.
The US contribution is part of an IAEA initiative to peacefully use nuclear science in health, environmental protection, water management and agriculture. Seventeen countries have donated $77 million to the IAEA initiative since it was founded in 2010, the State Department statement explained.
The Ebola virus outbreak raging in West Africa started in Guinea at the end of 2013 and later spread to the neighbouring countries. Some Ebola cases have been reported outside of West Africa, including in the United States.
According to the latest World Health Organization data, more than 8,000 people have died from Ebola since the start of the epidemic. The United States has allocated over $400 million to help fight the Ebola outbreak.
The virus is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals and there is still no officially-approved cure for the disease. However, several countries, including the United States and Russia, are currently developing Ebola vaccines.