Professor of the Institute of Virology, Mikhail Shchelkanov, who studied Ebola virus in Africa, shared his views in an interview with Pravda.Ru about chances for the virus to spread in Russia.
"Several outbreaks of the infection have recently been reported in the USA and in Europe. People actively buy protective suits, and scientists confirm that the virus will continue to conquer Europe. How true is this information?"
"We've always said that there is a possibility for the virus to cross the Russian border. But I am sure that only individual cases are possible, or hospital-acquired infections, but not more than that. In Russia, we have a system for ensuring biological security of the state, but sporadic cases are possible. All epidemic consequences will be nipped in the bud.
"During the epidemic of avian and swine flu, there was not even one single incident of avian flu reported in Russia. As for the swine flu, this is an airborne disease, and it's a fundamental difference. Ebola transmits through contact with an infected individual or equipment. Therefore, I emphasize once again, as many as 100-200 cases of imported exotic viral infections are reported in Russia every year, but they are detected in time, identified and eliminated."
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia and the European countries were studying the issue of the use of special aviation of the Russian Federation to fight Ebola. "Now experts are exploring the possibility of joint work," Putin said at a meeting with the Director General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan.
Putin noted that several European countries addressed Russia with a request to use special aircraft and capsules to transport infected patients. "We have the means for that," said Putin.
Russia will continue to help other countries struggle against Ebola and will do everything to protect its own population from the virus. "We have to act very carefully, to protect our own people from this infection," said Putin, TASS reports.
Last week, the Russian EMERCOM demonstrated special equipment for safe transportation of Ebola patients. German virologists evinced special interest in special medical boxes, an insulation chamber and special insulating protective suits.
To crown it all, scientists in Sergiev Posad near Moscow and Novosibirsk (in Siberia) developed a vaccine against Ebola, the chief of the Duma Committee for Science and High Technology, academician, Valery Chereshnev said.
The scientist also pointed out the potential efficacy of the drug known as Triazavirin. The drug was created by scientists of the Institute of Organic Synthesis of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with specialists Influenza Research Institute of Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.
"The developers have not tested it against the Ebola virus, but it works very actively against a whole range of influenza viruses," said Chereshnev.
Triazavirin has not been tested against Ebola due to extremely rare cases of the disease. Previously, Triazavirin showed successful action against 15 types of flu, including virus A/H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu), at any stage of the disease.