The story of ‘the Canadian vaccine’ that beat back Ebola

CONAKRY, Guinea — When Alseny Conté’s wife developed a high fever and became sick in 2015, the farmer from Bouramaya, Guinea, became her caregiver. The 37-year-old spent days comforting her and cleaning up after her as she vomited blood and developed severe diarrhea — two markers of the dreaded Ebola virus.

When her condition worsened, a desperate Conté put his wife on the back of his motorcycle and left their tiny village of 50 thatch-roofed homes. He took her to a traditional healer. Then, fearing she was near death, he drove down bumpy red dirt roads to the home of her mother in a nearby village.

Soon, his wife had succumbed to Ebola, the deadly hemorrhagic fever that can cause its victims to bleed from the nose, the mouth and eyes as it quickly overwhelms their system.

The disease, which swept through West Africa in 2014 and 2015, not only killed Conté’s wife but infected her brother, who lived with their mother.

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