Obama says Ebola fight not over, requests $6bn to combat virus


U.S. President Barack Obama listens as Dr. Nancy Sullivan (back to camera) talks about Ebola in the Vaccine Research Center during his visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland December 2, 2014 (Reuters / Larry Downing)

President Barack Obama praised efforts to combat Ebola in the United States and West Africa, but said the world cannot defeat the deadly virus without more action. He called on Congress to authorize an additional $6.18 billion to battle the disease.

Speaking at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, President Obama said the funds are necessary to help “extinguish” Ebola, which has taken the lives of nearly 6,000 people since it broke out in West Africa earlier this year. He pushed Congress to approve the money before its holiday recess.

“It’s a good Christmas present to the American people and to the world,” Obama said, referring to the extra funding. “The money’s running out. We cannot beat Ebola without more funding. If we want other countries to step up, we are going to have to lead the way.”

Before speaking at the NIH, Obama was given a tour of the facility, where scientists are currently hard at work on a potential Ebola vaccine. The team has completed phase 1 clinical trials for its vaccine, meaning large-scale trials in West Africa will occur in the coming weeks.

Obama cautioned that the vaccine may not ultimately be the answer the international community is looking for, but he called NIH’s results “exciting.”

Aside from NIH’s vaccine, the White House is supporting research on four other vaccines – one of which has also completed phase 1 clinical trials.

Read more at RT News

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