In this brief update, Dr. Erica Saphire talks about the continuing need for research on the Ebola virus, and the search for funding to help analyze the data generated so far by World Community Grid volunteers.
As of June 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there have been more than 28,000 cases of the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with more than 11,000 deaths. While WHO has declared that the most recent outbreak has ended, most researchers and public health experts believe that it is only a matter of time before another Ebola virus outbreak occurs. Sudan virus and Marburg virus, two diseases that are related to the Ebola virus, can also cause severe hemorrhaging and have high potential for outbreaks. Lassa virus also causes similar symptoms and is endemic, causing thousands of cases every year in Western Africa.
For these reasons, our research is crucial to helping contain future disease outbreaks. In order to move more rapidly towards laboratory testing of the most promising compounds screened on World Community Grid, we are looking for funding to hire an additional lab member that would be shared between our lab and the Olson Laboratory here at The Scripps Research Institute. This person would help with data analysis for Outsmart Ebola Together and Fight AIDS@Home and would also help prepare the future targets for Ebola and related diseases for us to explore using World Community Grid.
Funding is always an issue in scientific research, and resources are becoming more scarce for science throughout the world. But Outsmart Ebola Together remains a top priority for my lab, and our work will continue. We are very grateful to the many volunteers who continue to contribute to this project. We look forward to announcing receiving funding for a new position in the future!