EBOLA has been killing people since 1976, so why do we still have no vaccine?

I'll tell you why, because of corporate greed and global government indifference.

There is no profit for pharmaceutical giants in developing expensive drugs for rare diseases in countries with no money to buy them.

They are interested only in mass-market medicines for First World conditions such as cancer and heart disease, or lifestyle drugs such as Viagra.

Even health experts have ignored Ebola. Two years ago, the World Health Organisation listed 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that afflict more than one billion people. Ebola didn't rate a mention - until the current outbreak killed more than 4000 people so far and put the world on alert.

Of course, drug companies are not charities, they answer to shareholders, and for that matter where's the financial incentive for governments when the disease afflicts only Africa?

There was the same initial apathy towards Aids.

We're told not to worry, that Britain's systems of isolation and treatment will be ready when Ebola strikes here, which experts and Boris Johnson say is inevitable, possibly even this month.

But there was confusion over plans for airports and Eurostar to screen visitors from West Africa, and in particular Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Direct flights have been stopped, but danger will still arrive via other European hubs, and Gatwick said on Friday it knew nothing about David Cameron's screening plans.

The WHO believes exit screening is best, while experts warn that screening travellers entering the UK gives a false sense of security.

Arrivals will be quizzed about their "recent travel history" but no medical assessment will be done unless their answers cause concern.

No fears, then, that some may tell porkies, while anyone infected may not show symptoms for at least 10 days, which would appear to negate the US's temperature screening plans.

Ebola poses a very low risk to Scotland, according to Health Secretary Alex Neil. Even if we do get a case, he says "we have the expertise and facilities to ensure this would be contained and isolated effectively".

We should be reassured, but one shudders to think how, for example, Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary would cope.

Norovirus had it in meltdown last week, closing two wards and creating a bed shortage. Patients were parked for up to 17 hours on corridor trolleys and A&E was closed to new admissions.

Scotland Patients Association described it as Third World. Let's hope not.

In the whole of Britain there is only one high-level isolation unit, in London's Royal Free Hospital, and it has only two beds.

It's obvious that lessons from the Aids epidemic have been forgotten.

Ebola has been raging since March yet it's taken seven months for an international response, and only after reported infections as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Spain and the US.

Like Aids when it emerged, little is known about Ebola, other than it's incurable. According to WHO, 216 of the 433 health workers infected worldwide have died.

American Thomas Eric Duncan was the first man to be diagnosed and die from it outwith West Africa.

When he sought help in Dallas he was sent home with antibiotics. Now one of his Texas care workers has tested positive.

Spanish nurse Teresa Ramos contracted Ebola in Madrid caring for missionary priests. She was at first discharged with paracetamol and has since infected others.

And the UK has already seen the false alarm panic caused by an Englishman's death in Macedonia from Ebola-like symptoms.

So both diseases present similar challenges - mistakes, confusion and hysteria, such as Spanish healthcare workers refusing to treat infected patients. With Aids, some undertakers even refused to take the dead.

It's claimed anyone infected can't spread Ebola until they show symptoms and that, unlike flu or TB, it isn't transmitted through the air, requiring "meaningful exposure" to an infected person's fluids.

BUT many experts are wary, admitting they just don't know. No research has been done to verify these "facts".

Still, that hasn't stopped Dr David Nabarro, the UN's senior co-ordinator for Ebola, calling the outbreak "worse than any virus movie I've ever seen", or America's top health official declaring it could become as deadly as Aids.

Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, told the World Bank that in 30 years in public health "the only thing like this has been Aids". The CDCP predicts around 1.4 million cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone before February.

As Ebola treatment overwhelms West African hospitals, experts agree the best way to stop its global spread is to tackle it at source.

Australia is one country refusing to send health workers until their safety can be guaranteed, but this may be one time when having British boots on the ground is justified.