If not handled properly, an Ebola outbreak can turn into an epidemic, overwhelming regional health services and disrupting trade and the delivery of social services, causing the welfare and economy of a region to deteriorate. The ongoing viral load in the human population increases the likelihood of further mutation. Additionally, the virus’s long incubation period and our highly connected modern world could allow the virus to spread to new geographies and across oceans.
Currently, there are no approved treatments or vaccines for this deadly disease, and the search for an effective antiviral drug to treat the disease is a high priority. While previous outbreaks have ended when the disease 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.
You can help researchers find a cure for Ebola by donating your computing power to this project, encouraging others to join, and also by contributing to The Scripps Research Institute’s crowdfunding campaign to secure additional resources needed to analyze the enormous volume of data generated by Outsmart Ebola Together.