WHAT a gift to the world it would be if a cure for the deadly Ebola virus came out of our great city.

But if that is to happen, the people of Oxford and the wider county will need to pluck up the courage to do their bit.

This is a disease that is bringing death and misery to large parts of Africa and one with a low survival rate and no known cure.

There is something medieval about it and the terror it brings. But this is a 21st-Century crisis which simply must be tackled head on, as sooner or later it will spread beyond Africa.

Step forward Prof Adrian Hill and his team from the Jenner Institute at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital who have been given the task of finding a vaccine.

To do that, he needs to run clinical trials on 60 volunteers, starting next month.

The vaccine would take a gene from the Ebola virus and place it in a ‘carrier’, in this case a safe version of the common cold virus.

This is what the scientists want to test on their guinea pigs and they stress that nobody would catch Ebola as a result.

The outcome could be that 60 people will have helped to save thousands upon thousands of lives across the world.

What an extraordinary opportunity. We hope there’s a stampede to sign up.

If it helps, the email address to contact is vaccinetrials@ndm.ox.ac.uk