27 October 2014
The Business Times
Ebola virus shows no signs of slowing down
West Africa’s Ebola outbreak is the largest in history, ravaging multiple countries. A glimmer of hope has emerged in the form of the experimental vaccines that are being rushed to the affected areas. Can the virus be contained and if so how? Leon Perera, Chief Executive Officer of Spire Research and Consulting, shared his views in The Business Times – Views from the Top on what Asia should be doing to maximize Ebola-preparedness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 13,268 Ebola cases have been reported in eight countries, resulting in 4,960 deaths so far. Perera commented that Ebola has so far gripped three West African countries namely Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Needless to say, the inter-country transport links for these countries are developed to such an extent that they help spread the virus. But these countries still lack healthcare systems to cope with an epidemic like this.
At the same time, Ebola – unlike Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – is not airborne. This makes it a little less threatening and easier to restrain. However, Perera felt that it was still crucial to maintain rigorous airport screening to help contain the virus. In this regard, the SARS epidemic has helped Asian countries in terms of Ebola-preparedness. But the main epicentre of Ebola lies in West Africa, not Asia. The affected countries should be given aid money and contributions to enable them to contain the disease before it goes global. In particular, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone need help to set-up makeshift hospitals and carry out experimental vaccine distribution. Asia has an important role to play in this effort.
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Spire Research and Consulting is the leading research consultancy in global emerging markets. Spire's competitive advantage lies in its ability to deliver actionable intelligence on the external business environment in support of its clients’ strategic decision-making in marketing and business development. Spire's clients include 50 Global Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies in 15 countries. For more information, please visit www.spireresearch.com.