Clearly a lot of Ghanaians have no idea of what this whole vaccine trial is about. But that is beside the point, what has really saddened me is how well educated folks who could simply research on it to be informed have refused to do so and yet are busily making public comments on it.
Today, i have tuned in to two big radio stations and on both stations, I was simply EMBARRASSED by radio panel members seriously shouting with passion but sadly too, with a LOT OF IGNORANCE on this whole Ebola vaccine trial.
So I have decided to answer three questions most people ask ignorantly – i don’t mean for you to be offended, just be informed.
1.What is this whole vaccine thing? Are they really introducing Ebola into Ghanaians?
A vaccine is a weakened form of a virus that is introduced into an individual so that the body develops immunity (let’s call this “body soldiers/ ability to fight”) against such disease. Yes, the vaccine contains the virus content. However this is weakened and the amount is too small to cause the disease – this is ensured by passing the vaccine through several tests and using animal subject over and over again.
2. Ghana has no Ebola, why not Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea who have had the virus?
People who have already been exposed to the virus (naturally as in the case of people in these countries) may already be producing such antibodies in their systems and so the researcher cannot tell if those antibodies is due to the natural exposure to the disease or by the vaccine they are testing. That is why it wouldn’t be prudent to try vaccines in places already exposed to the disease in this case, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
3. Why Ghana, Volta region, Hohoe?
This is the most unreasonable among the questions. FDA has stated over and over again that the Principal Researcher (the person who is doing this research) is in the University of Allied Sciences in Hohoe.
Additionally, the University have the needed facilities and equipment for such trials which makes it a suitable site for such trials, as was done for Polio, Onchocerciasis, etc.