MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - UN’s Ebola mission chief Anthony Banbury warned on Thursday the humanity is racing against the clock in its fight with the Ebola outbreak as the deadly virus can mutate any moment to become airborne, making it much harder to defeat, The Telegraph said.
“The longer it moves around in human hosts in the virulent melting pot that is West Africa, the more chances increase that it could mutate,” Banbury said, adding the emergence of a respiratory transmissible Ebola virus was a "nightmare scenario," which should not be ruled out.
For now, the Ebola virus is transmitted only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of those infected. There is no officially approved vaccine or cure for the disease, although several countries – Russia, Britain, Canada, Japan and the United States – are working on it.
UN Secretary-General’s special representative, who was appointed to head the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response last week, confessed to The Telegraph that international community was a bit late in raising awareness of the deadly pandemic, which struck West Africa as early as last year, but added it was still not “too late.”
The current outbreak of Ebola, worst yet, started in southern Guinea and quickly spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. A separate outbreak, unrelated to the one in West Africa, is taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) report a total of 7,178 cases and 3,338 deaths in the current outbreak. The WHO projects 20,000 new cases of Ebola virus disease in West Africa by November.