Thursday, December 01, 2005

Open up your eyes and see the wonder that is me

I always thought ebola was cool. For a while I wanted to be a field epidemiologist (hence my minor in anthropology). So I enjoyed reading that, after almost 30 years, researchers finally found the animal reservoir of the virus (that means the animal that carries the virus in nature but doesn't display symptoms) - it's three species of fruit bats. Lesson here: don't eat fruit bats.

ps - read The Hot Zone, if you haven't already. And then read The Cobra Effect - fiction, but scarier.

4 comments:

Edge said...

That's really interesting! does that mean that they are closer to finding the vaccine? I guess they examine what makes the bat immune to the disease and exract that or something?

Cool any way you look at it.

~Jef

Courtney said...

Unfortunately, it's not that simple in terms of a vaccine. The information will be more useful for public health campaigns (I was serious when I said that the lesson was "don't eat fruit bats" because that's what they're telling African people in high-risk areas). "Immune" means you don't contract something, which is very different from being a "carrier" of something (meaning you are infected but present no symptoms).

Edge said...

That is so interesting. Will all this help them find a cure?

~Jef

Courtney said...

It's possible. It depends on the reason why the bats don't get sick. If it's because they have some kind of antibody to the virus, then it's possible that it could be duplicated in the lab. If it's something about their cells that's different from ours, that's not going to help us much.

But it's still pretty neat.