Jul. 31 2014

As the world begins to grapple with the nature and scope of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, appeared on MSNBC to discuss the likely reasons for this outbreak and the potential for vaccine development.

"Ebola occurs sporadically," Morse said to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in the interview. "One of the reasons this it’s so bad is that this part of Africa has not experienced an Ebola outbreak before."

The outbreak, currently centered on the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, began in February and has thus far been responsible for more than 700 fatalities, including several healthcare professionals working to stem the virus' reach. 

"In this part of Africa, although the virus has probably been there in nature for quite some time, some change in environmental conditions or some accidental contact with one of the animals that might be carrying Ebola, probably a bat, somebody got infected, and people are still learning how to handle it."

Morse says, "Even in developed countries where there is a demand for vaccine and enough money, presumably to justify it, we don’t have a vaccine for Lyme Disease…Companies are very careful to invest in the ones they think will give them a reasonable rate of return."

Watch Morse’s full interview here.

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