(NEW YORK CITY) - The latest stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are jarring: more than 8,000 cases of Ebola, nearly 4,500 deaths.
In the last 72 hours, there has been much discussion focused on preventative measures to stop the virus from spreading, but for many like Dr. Christopher Basler, this outbreak is not only unprecedented but also unexpected, "No one really anticipated an epidemic on this scale occurring naturally."
Dr. Christopher Basler has been examining Ebola for the last 14 years. He is viewed as one of the leading researchers of the deadly virus. Dr. Basler along with his 12-member team works out of this laboratory located on the 15th floor at Mount Sinai Hospital.
When he's not in the lab, he can be found addressing conferences on the subject. Last week Dr. Basler was at a conference in Atlanta sharing a presentation on the virus and its current outbreak.
When asked what this latest outbreak has taught he and his team? "To not assume that you know what is going to happen. We didn't expect Ebola to actually cause such an enormous epidemic."
Ebola is deadly because it deactivates the body's immune response system. It is a medical conundrum that Dr. Basler and his team are carefully examining in order overcome the problem.
"Well we have a very strong virology research program and we're interested understanding why these type of viruses cause severe disease and also developing vaccines and therapies."
As for whether or not researchers are at all close to finding that magic pill that can shut the virus down? "I think we are much closer than we were several years ago," said Dr. Basler.
What has been seen in this latest outbreak are the ways to treat Ebola if detected early.
This said, if other experimental medicine currently in research produces positive results for humans, then the question becomes how quickly can it be dispersed to the masses?
Dr. Basler's perspective on that potential scenario, "Historically that can take years, I think under the current circumstances people are looking for any way possible to accelerate the development."