BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- The World Health Organization says the number of Ebola cases could eventually top 20,000, six times as many as we known about now.
With the number of infected persons reaching such a dangerous level, medical researchers here in the D.C. area are about to take on the critical endeavor of ending Ebola.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and his colleagues at the National Institute of Health (NIH) are beginning a trial for an Ebola vaccine.
"We'll go very slowly" Fauci describes "give it to three individuals, wait a while, give it to another three, wait a while."
20 people will be administered the vaccine in Bethesda, they are all in excellent health and between the ages of 18 and 50.
They will be able to tell the vaccine's prospects for preventing the disease by gauging whether a trial participant's immune system mounts a response to the Ebola genes in the vaccine.
"We're going to start the study on the vaccine here. Then very soon there after they're going to start in the UK and the UK is then going to use sites that we have in Mali and the Gambia" Fauci explained.
The two Americans brought to Atlanta with Ebola were given therapies for treatment. The vaccine Fauci will work on is very different: " What we're talking about is a vaccine to give to an uninfected person to help prevent them from getting infected the same way when you and I were children, we got measles vaccines and mumps and all those vaccines to protect us from getting infected."
While there is a need to put a halt to Ebola, doctors need to proceed with a vaccine trial with caution.
"Safety is paramount" stated Fauci.