Just 12 hours after he got an experimental Ebola vaccine, and just two days after he stuck himself with a needle while caring for Ebola patients in September, Dr. Lewis Rubinson started getting sick.
By then, Rubinson was aboard a jet, being evacuated from Sierra Leone to the United States. He wasn’t sure if he was infected with Ebola or if the vaccine was causing a reaction. He was en route to strict isolation at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington D.C.
Months later, it’s fairly clear the vaccine caused the reaction. He has no trace of Ebola infection. What’s not entirely clear is whether the vaccine stopped the virus from taking hold, or whether he was never infected in the first place.
“My gut leads me to believe he was never exposed. You can never prove it,” Thomas Geisbert, an Ebola vaccine expert at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, told NBC News.
Rubinson wrote about his experience in an essay published in the American Journal of Tropical medicine and Hygiene.