5 millThe killer virus is spreading like wildfire, Liberia’s defense minister said on Tuesday he pleaded for UN assistance. A German Ebola expert tells DW the virus must “burn itself out” in that part of the world. His statement might alarm many people. But Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told DW that he and his colleagues are losing hope for Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the countries worst hit by the recent Ebola epidemic. “The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” he said. That time was May and June. “Now it is too late.” Schmidt-Chanasit expects the virus will “burn itself out” in this part of the world. With other words: It will more or less infect everybody and half of the population – in total about five million people – could die. Stop the virus from spilling over to other countries. Schmidt-Chanasit knows that it is a hard thing to say. He stresses that he doesn’t want international help to stop. Quite the contrary: He demands “massive help.” For Sierra Leone and Liberia, though, he thinks “it is far from reality to bring enough help there to get a grip on the epidemic.” According to the virologist, the most important thing to do now is to prevent the virus from spreading to other countries, “and to help where it is still possible, in Nigeria and Senegal for example.” Moreover, much more money has to be put into evaluating suitable vaccines, he added. More