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Screening Test Finds Drugs That Show Promise Against Ebola

U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT HEALTH TODAY   by   Dennis Thompson                            Dec. 17, 2014

A screening test has identified more than 50 drugs that could be helpful in treating people with Ebola, researchers report.

"These drugs are all approved (by the FDA) so they could be deployed quickly if follow-up research proves that they are effective," said study author Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

The study was published online Dec. 17 in the journal Emerging Microbes and Infections.

The screening test involves a laboratory-engineered fake Ebola virus. The fake virus contains two proteins from the deadly pathogen, but does not include the infectious genetic material that makes Ebola so dangerous, Garcia-Sastre said.

Read complete story.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2014/12/17/screening-test-finds-drugs-that-show-promise-against-ebola

Read Emerging Microbes and Infections paper.

http://www.nature.com/emi/journal/v3/n12/full/emi201488a.html

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Here’s How Much the Next Ebola Will Cost Us

Why saving the environment can help prevent it

TIME MAGAZINE     by Alexandra Sifferlin                                                                         Dec. 16, 2014

The global community cannot withstand another Ebola outbreak: The World Bank estimates the two-year financial burden price tag of the current epidemic at $32.6 billion. Unfortunately, the virus has revealed gaping holes in our preparedness for major infectious disease epidemics. Because of these, plus the urbanization of rural communities and globalization of travel and trade, more of these epidemics are expected.

In a new report from the EcoHealth Alliance published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), experts estimate that the world will see about five new emerging infectious diseases each year and that we need new prevention strategies to cut economic losses.

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Health Care Worker Quarantine for Ebola: To Eradicate the Virus or Alleviate Fear?

ANNALS OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE                                                                               Dec. 11, 014
By Kristi Koenig, MD, Center for Disaster Medical Sciences, University of California at Irvine

Despite our global experience with emerging infectious diseases, politicians empowered with making health policy decisions and even some scientists have created confusion, fear, and stigmatization of health care workers by inconsistent use of quarantine....

Instead of trying to allay public fears by misapplication of quarantine, we should instead educate according to rigorous science and apply evidence-based policies and procedures. Modern technologies exist for robust public health monitoring that can replace an antiquated system of quarantine for exposed persons who have no potential to transmit disease before symptom onset. Health care workers who have cared for Ebola patients and are asymptomatic should not be restricted from work or other activities as long as they can be effectively monitored for symptoms and then isolated and tested if those develop. Politicians must heed their scientific advisors and not be swayed by misinformed public fear. In addition, we should seek out and apply these simple modern technologic solutions that maximize public health and safety.

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Congress releases FY15 Omnibus

COMPILED BY THE GLOBAL RESILIENCE SYSTEM                                                          Dec. 14, 2014

Congressional Actions and The Obama Administration requests for emergency funding for Ebola.

Contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal year 2015 passed by the Senate Sunday and earlier by the House.

(Five links, scroll down.)

Tables showing actual approved appropriations, Compiled by Kaiser Foundation
http://kff.org/policy-tracker/congress-releases-fy15-omnibus/

FY15 CROmnibus - PT Entry (12-9-14) Table 2 - 80p

      Note: Congressional ddid not approve the Administration's  requested $1.5 million contigency fund.

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Contest Seeks Novel Tools for the Fight Against Ebola

NEW YORK TIMES  by Donald G. McNeil, Jr.                                                                              Dec. 13, 2014

NEW YORK --The well-prepared Ebola fighter in West Africa may soon have some new options: protective gear that zips off like a wet suit, ice-cold underwear to make life inside the sweltering suits more bearable, or lotions that go on like bug spray and kill or repel the lethal virus.

A prototype for one of the protective suits in contention for the U.S.A.I.D. "Grand Challenges" award. Credit John Hopkins University/Jhpiego

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Ebola's Lasting Impact On The U.S. Health Care System

Analysis:

HUFFINGTON POST         Dec. 12, 2014
One of the biggest humanitarian tragedies in 2014 has been the Ebola epidemic, which to date has infected 17,942 people and killed 6,388. The epidemic continues in West Africa, and there is no doubt it will impact the governments, economies and people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea for years to come. But while Ebola has affected the U.S. in a much smaller way, the handful of cases that arrived here may also have an enduring impact on the U.S. health care system.

In this Oct. 24, 2014, file photo, members of the Department of Defense's Ebola Military Medical Support Team use checklists during training at San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

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UNICEF Expanding Fight Against Ebola

VOICE OF AMERICA  Lisa Schlein                                                                                            Dec. 12, 2014

GENEVA—The U.N. Children’s Fund is appealing for an additional $300 million to expand its fight against Ebola in the three heavily affected West African countries over the next six months. UNICEF said gaining the confidence of community members, increasing their awareness and knowledge of modes of transmission and prevention are key to winning the battle against this deadly disease.

Women in the village of Boukoloma, in Guinea’s southeastern forest region, listen to messages about Ebola prevention. (Photo courtesy of Christophe Boulierac / UNICEF)

UNICEF officials said money from the appeal would be used to tackle two major drivers of Ebola transmission: lack of early isolation of patients and unsafe burials.  Both of these issues are wound up with traditional cultural practices, which often have stymied aid agencies’ efforts to prevent people from getting infected with the disease and spreading it to others. 

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The Path to Zero Ebola Cases

Op-ed

NEW YORK TIMES by Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group      Dec. 11, 2014                                              

MONROVIA, Liberia — In my career as a medical doctor and global health policy maker, I have been in the middle of monumental struggles, including fights to make treatment accessible in the developing world for those living with H.I.V./AIDS as well as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. But the Ebola epidemic is the worst I’ve ever seen...

Members of District 13 ambulance service disinfect a room in a village north of Monrovia, Liberia. Credit Jerome Delay/Associated Press

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UN Says Several Months Needed to Control Ebola

ASSOCIATED PRESS by EDITH M. LEDERER                       Dec. 11, 2014

UNITED NATIONS-- The U.N. Ebola chief said Thursday it will take several more months before the outbreak in West Africa is under control, an assessment that makes clear the World Health Organization's goal of isolating 100 percent of Ebola cases by Jan. 1 won't be met.

Dr. David Nabarro said there has been "a massive shift" over the last four months in the way affected governments have taken the lead in responding to the epidemic, communities are taking action and the international community has pitched in.

But he said greater efforts are needed to combat Ebola in western Sierra Leone and northern Mali, to reduce the number of new cases in Liberia and to limit transmission to Mali.

WHO conceded that it didn't meet an interim Dec. 1 target of isolating 70 percent of Ebola patients and safely burying 70 percent of victims in hardest-hit Sierra Leone. But it hasn't made clear what that means for its Jan. 1 goal, which it set in September. It has acknowledged that its patchy data could compromise the goal, since the agency does not know how many Ebola patients there actually are and is unable to track all of their contacts.

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UN Says Several Months Needed to Control Ebola

ASSOCIATED PRESS by EDITH M. LEDERER                       Dec. 11, 2014

UNITED NATIONS-- The U.N. Ebola chief said Thursday it will take several more months before the outbreak in West Africa is under control, an assessment that makes clear the World Health Organization's goal of isolating 100 percent of Ebola cases by Jan. 1 won't be met.

Dr. David Nabarro said there has been "a massive shift" over the last four months in the way affected governments have taken the lead in responding to the epidemic, communities are taking action and the international community has pitched in.

But he said greater efforts are needed to combat Ebola in western Sierra Leone and northern Mali, to reduce the number of new cases in Liberia and to limit transmission to Mali.

WHO conceded that it didn't meet an interim Dec. 1 target of isolating 70 percent of Ebola patients and safely burying 70 percent of victims in hardest-hit Sierra Leone. But it hasn't made clear what that means for its Jan. 1 goal, which it set in September. It has acknowledged that its patchy data could compromise the goal, since the agency does not know how many Ebola patients there actually are and is unable to track all of their contacts.

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