Young Scientists

Doing experimental science in Africa : how to ? - 9. Alpha Kabinet Keita: follow up of cured people

Will the people who survived Ebola have long-term consequences?

"We developed the POSTEBOGUI project in Guinea. It was a project that allowed us to follow people cured of Ebola virus disease. Ebola virus disease in Guinea killed more than 2,000 people, with more than 3,000 cases. In all affected countries, there were more than 28,000 cases of infections and more than 11,300 deaths. It was an unprecedented epidemic. Not seen in the world since the discovery of the virus in 1976.

And the questions we had at the time, that other scientists had had also, but they didn't have the equipment we have to do this work, were: what about these survivors of Ebola virus disease? When they no longer have symptoms of the disease can they be considered cured? Or will they later develop sequelae related to their diseases? As with some viral diseases, could there be persistence of the virus in the fluids collected from these people? We have seen this with HIV, we have seen this with zika : the virus persists in certain types of fluid and it can even be at the root of contamination from one individual to another.

So we asked all these questions. We went further, we asked other questions about other populations. As a result of these different projects, and with the support of several institutes, notably INSERM, IRD and the University of Conakry as well as the Institut National de Santé Publique (INSP) of Guinea, we succeeded in setting up a first laboratory at the INSP.

This laboratory allowed us to analyze the samples we took as part of the projects we set up in Guinea. This molecular virology laboratory was originally an empty room that the institute had made available to us. And thanks to the support of the institutions I mentioned earlier, we have succeeded in having this ultra-modern laboratory which today makes it possible to diagnose haemorrhagic fevers. But we didn't stop there."


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