To Cure Ebola Will Take More Than a Pill

What Congo Must Do to Prevent Future Outbreaks

A health worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo fills a syringe with the Ebola vaccine Baz Ratner / Reuters

Two experimental drugs used to treat the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are working, medical researchers say. Infected people who took the medications as part of a trial survived at rates of 66–71 percent, compared with 30 percent for those who were not vaccinated and did not receive medication. Ninety percent of patients who received treatment within the first days of showing symptoms survived. These therapies have the potential to transform Ebola from a near-certain death sentence into a difficult but survivable disease.

Congo especially stands to benefit. The country has experienced ten Ebola outbreaks since 1976, and its health authorities are adept at identifying and isolating infected individuals, tracing and monitoring exposure networks, and controlling the spread of the virus. But as the current outbreak in the eastern province of North Kivu has shown, no amount of medical preparedness can overcome the difficulties of fighting an outbreak under

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