How Was the Ebola Virus Discovered?
Another virus that only threatened the world with a possible pandemic
During the late 20th century as well as most of the 21st century, our world has been threatened by pandemics before even the appearance of Covid-19. There have been many outbreaks of Ebola in the last 40 years, but most of them took place in third world countries, specifically in Africa, due to the lack of medical resources.
Similarities and differences between Ebola and Covid-19
The virus has a different manifestation from Covid-19 which actually makes it more deadly. The symptoms are quite different, apart from muscle aches and stomach pains, Ebola starts its attack by destroying the immune cells within the bloodstream of the infected person. This is done by blocking the release of interferon, a protein created by our immune system in order to fight viruses and bacterias.
Once the immune system becomes pretty much obsolete, the virus attacks the liver and spleen making these vital organs shut down and eventually kill the infected. A big difference between Ebola and Covid-19 is that the latter can actually be treated (not cured yet) with antibiotics or other antiviral drugs, whilst Ebola can be very difficult to treat because even the strongest antibiotics seem to have little effectiveness towards combating the virus.
What is very surprising about the appearance of Ebola is that it is said to have also appeared due to bats! Bats are believed to be the hosts of Ebola, whilst the virus doesn’t interfere with their lives, it affects humans.
The discovery of Ebola
The first signs of Ebola appeared in the 1970s in a place called Ziar but now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, people didn’t understand why some of the inhabitants were suddenly dropping dead one after another, especially in a time where medicine was almost non-existent in third-world countries.
In 1976 the Institute of Tropical Medicine from Belgium received a strange package containing a thermos mug. At that time, one of the researchers working there was Peter Piot, a 27-year old that had just graduated with his diploma in microbiology. Piot…