A Virginia man has stepped up as one of 20 people who are being intentionally injected with the Ebola virus in an effort to test a potential vaccine.
Peter Hubbard is no stranger to vaccine testing. In the past, he’s taken part in testing for HIV, H1N1 and malaria, so when the opportunity to test for Ebola came about, he decided to go for it.
“I would say that when plague and pestilence sweep throughout the earth, I'll be the last man standing,” said Hubbard to NPR’s Scott Simon.
Hubbard is a 35-year-old fuels analyst for natural gas and coal companies who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and he says that despite some minor risks, he has no problem being a tester for the vaccine.
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“I get a lot of satisfaction out of the fact that this could potentially develop into a viable vaccine that prevents another outbreak,” said Hubbard to Mirror UK. “It might not help out with the current outbreak but it could prevent a future one, so that's a real plus in my book.”
To be clear, Hubbard isn’t being injected with a live Ebola virus. The vaccine testing uses the Ebola gene in order to initiate the body’s natural immune response. Hubbard says that since being injected on September 9, he feels totally fine.
“I feel great, yeah. In fact, I couldn't tell where the injection site was thirty minutes after it,” Hubbard said. “I ran a marathon on Sunday. I'm alive and kicking.”
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While others are still fearful that Ebola could begin to spread in the United States, Hubbard says he doesn’t believe that will happen.
“But honestly, I'm not worried about an Ebola outbreak,” he said, “because I've taken the time to inform myself and I realize that there's very low risk for that.”
So far, three Americans have been diagnosed with Ebola inside of the country, and two of them are completely cured while one is said to be doing extremely well. The first man diagnosed with the deadly disease inside the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, who traveled here from his home country of Liberia, died last month. Back in West Africa, nearly 5,000 people have died of Ebola.