This terrible illness has been raging in Western Africa since the 25 of July 2014, it is believed this began with a toddler who then spread the disease to his mother and from there it's growth was exponential. Despite a media frenzy and many people verging on paranoia, most of the population know very little about the virus itself.
This virus proves fatal for around 50% of those infected, however depending on the variation it can be as low as 25% or as high as 90%.It belongs to a group known as the filo viruses, who’s name comes from the latin word filum, meaning string, as is the shape of this viral group. Other viruses contained within this group are those such as Marburg, another hemorrhagic virus. The variations of Ebola virus mostly affect the great apes, however some infect bats as is the believed cause of this outbreak. Ebola is not confined to Africa as variants were found in apes from the Philippines.
There are five variants of this virus, namely Taï Forest (formerly Ivory Coast), Sudan, Zaire, Reston and Bundibugyo. Ebola-Reston is the only known Filovirus that does not cause severe disease in humans; however, it can still be fatal in monkeys and it has been recently recovered from infected swine in South-east Asia.The virus attacks by attaching its spine covered body to the cell membrane, forcing it to be absorbed and then reproducing using the hosts DNA. The reason for the virus's great effectiveness is what's known as a cytokines storm, this causes metabolic upheaval and is caused by harmful toxins and protein being emitted from the virus as it reproduces, the effect of this is that it causes the walls of the arteries and blood vessels to loosen, denature and break away entirely, this is the reason for extensive haemorrhaging. Another effect of the chemical storm is as the abdomen is filled with fluids pressure builds up and the virus is free to move through these liquids and spread itself further through the hosts body.
Hoping for a cure, the latest prevailing idea for a cure is that of a seemingly miraculous drug, Z-map, this drug uses the antibodies from mice, which appear to be able to control the disease, before chemically changing them to make them comparable with the human immune system. This drug works in two ways , the first of which attacks the mechanism by which the virus enters a human cell, by attaching its spine covered body to the cell, forcing it to be absorbed and then reproducing using the hosts DNA. The first antibodies launch onto the spines and prevent the virus from entering the cells and reproducing, the second works by acting as a kind of chemical marker causing the human immune system to attack the virus. The advantage of this treatment is it enables the body to formulate its own antibody, while the virus is pacified, giving therefore long lasting immunity. There is also hope for a vaccination which is currently being trialled, this will use a similar combination of antibodies taken, in this case primarily from the great apes. Another therapy is the use of the blood plasm as of survivors and in theory transferring the antibodies for long lasting immunity.