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US regulators recall 10-minute Ebola test

AFP                                                                                April  23, 2015
Miami  - US regulators have issued an international recall for a 10-minute Ebola blood test made by a California-based company, saying it has not been proven to work and could put lives at risk.

"A recall has been issued for the LuSys Laboratories, Inc., Ebola Virus One-Step Test Kits because the FDA has not cleared or approved the kits for use or sale," said the Food and Drug Administration in a statement emailed to reporters on Thursday.

"The results obtained from these test kits have not demonstrated to be accurate and should not be used as in vitro diagnostic tests for Ebola infection."

Contacted by AFP, a company representative in San Diego said early trials have shown the test to be 86 percent accurate. The problem with the FDA came down to a labeling error, he said. The equipment had not been properly labeled "for research purposes only."

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http://news.yahoo.com/us-regulators-recall-10-minute-ebola-test-193530081.html;_ylt=AwrC1CmnSjlVNDsAZTDQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByaWg0YW05BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM4BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--

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Ebola survivors donate plasma to tackle outbreak

EUREKALERT                                                                           April 22, 2015
UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL -- 
The first donations of plasma, from survivors of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, have been received by an international research team working to help tackle current and future disease outbreaks in West Africa.

The team, led by scientists at the University of Liverpool and colleagues at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Services, Ministry of Health, Sierra Leone, is investigating how plasma from Ebola survivors could help treat patients with the disease at the Ebola Treatment Unit, run by the 34th Regiment Military Hospital group in Freetown.

Dr Calum Semple, from the University's Institute of Child Health, and his collaborators developed a convalescent plasma protocol in readiness for an outbreak, such as Ebola, as part of the outbreak preparatory work of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium.

The study is one of several being supported by the Wellcome Trust's platform for evaluating experimental Ebola therapeutics in West Africa.

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/uol-esd042215.php

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More than 26,000 have been infected with Ebola: WHO

AFP 

(Scroll down for complete WHO report                                                                                         April 22, 2015

Geneva - More than 26,000 people have been infected with Ebola since the outbreak began and more than 10,800 have died, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The UN health body also warned that the decline in confirmed cases appeared to have stagnated, urging increased efforts to stop transmission of the deadly virus.

In all, 26,079 people have contracted the disease over the past 16 months, and 10,823 of them have died, almost all of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone....

In the week leading to April 19, 33 new confirmed cases were reported, with 21 in Guinea, 12 in Sierra Leone and none in Liberia.

That compares to 37 new confirmed cases the week before, and 30 the week before that....

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Mapping of Assessments and Identification of Gaps - Sierra Leone and Liberia

ACAPS                                                                                April 22, 2015

Survey of surveys for Liberia and Sierra Leone, April, 1015

A multitude of needs assessments have been conducted to capture impacts of the Ebola outbreak on affected communities, since March 2014. This paper reviews all of the assessments on Liberia and Sierra Leone made available to the Ebola Needs Analysis Project, between December 2014 and 20 March 2015. Several assessments have been conducted at a regional level. This report focuses only on those conducted on a national level or lower, to allow for disaggregation of results. http://acaps.org/img/documents/t-acaps_mapping_assessments_-identifying_gaps_22_april_2015.pdf

Read complete survey.

http://acaps.org/img/documents/t-acaps_mapping_assessments_-identifying_gaps_22_april_2015.pdf

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Tekmira Ebola drug succeeds in small monkey study

REUTERS by Aharon Begley                                                                    Aug. 22, 2015
NEW YORK --An experimental Ebola drug from Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp cured all three monkeys intentionally infected with the virus, scientists reported on Wednesday, the first such success against the strain of Ebola in West Africa's 2014-2015 outbreak.

Although other experimental treatments appeared to help Ebola patients last year, especially in the United States, those one-time uses cannot prove efficacy against the "Makona" strain, since patients' recovery might be due to other causes. Similarly, drugs, including Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp, cured monkeys in lab experiments, but in a strain of Ebola different from that responsible for the current outbreak, the worst ever recorded.

"We can't say for certain that an experimental drug that works against one strain will work in another, even if they're almost identical genetically," said Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch, senior author of the study published in the journal Nature.

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Africa: Apes Lack Ebola Protection, Scientists Warn

ALL AFRICA by Sarah Naraghi                    April 2, 2015

(Scroll down for releated report and story.)

Research on potential Ebola vaccines should seek to protect great apes as well as humans to prevent the disease from decimating gorilla and chimpanzee populations, say experts.

                   Chimps play at the on Tacugama Sanctuary in Sierra Leone which is under threat of closure

Work is continuing on trials of potential Ebola vaccines and the rate of fresh cases of the disease in the West African outbreak is slowing.

But unrelated outbreaks among Central Africa's great ape populations could happen at any time, says a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study estimates that Ebola has wiped out thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees since the early 2000s, with some rainforests experiencing a 90 per cent decline in their great ape populations...

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Eleven handed life sentences over Guinea Ebola worker murders

REUTERS                                                                                                            April 22, 2015

CONAKRY (Reuters) - A court in Guinea has sentenced 11 people to life in prison for murdering a team educating locals about the risks of Ebola in a remote part of the West African country last year, a state prosecutor said on Wednesday.

The broken windshield of an Ebola emergency team vehicle is seen after it had been pelted with stones in Lola

February 9, 2015. REUTERS/Misha Hussain

The bodies of eight people were discovered in September in Womey, a village near the city of Nzerekore around 1,000 km (620 miles) southeast of the capital Conakry.

Some had been hacked to death with machetes or had their throats slit before their bodies were thrown into latrines, witnesses at the trial in Nzerekore said.

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Looking Into the Mirror of EBOLA: A Reminder of the Importance of Nutrition As We Age

HUFFINGTON POST by Dr. Simin Nikbin Meydan                                                               April 21, 2015
When the world was devastated by the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa last year, we were given a warning call on many levels. While I was mulling over the whys and hows of the epidemic, my mind automatically went to the role that nutrition can play in helping to stem the spread, and mortality rates, of diseases and perhaps deter future outbreaks.

 The next step my mind took, (admittedly, I research nutrition, immunology and infection in older adults), was to the role nutrition plays in maintaining a robust immune response and fighting against infections particularly in older adults. Remember the SARS outbreak in 2003? SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the SARS coronavirus. The outbreak began in southern China and caused an eventual 8,096 cases with 774 deaths reported in multiple countries. The overall mortality rate in aged populations exceeded 50%. Age matters in fighting infections. As we age, our immune systems gray and we need to factor this into our response to outbreaks.

It is telling that infectious epidemics usually originate in areas of the world that suffer from poor nutrition.

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Understanding the Emergence of Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone: Stalking the Virus in the Threatening Wake of Emergence

PLOS  Current Outbreaks  by Nadia Wauquier and others                                             April 20, 2015

The initial steps of emergence and spread of a virus are critical in the development of a potential outbreak and need to be thoroughly dissected and understood in order to improve on preventative strategies. In the current West African outbreak of EVD, a unique index case has been identified, pinpointing the geographical origin of the epidemic in Guinea.

Herein, we provide an accounting of events that serve as the footprint of EVD emergence in Sierra Leone and a road map for risk mitigation fueled by lessons learned....

...Continuous active surveillance is needed and must be organized by specialized centers joined in local, regional, and international networks. Surveillance centers must be connected to public health systems and also to research teams for increased understanding and awareness to permit identification and implementation of rapid intervention strategies....

Read complete study  and see maps.

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Road to Zero: Sierra Leone’s Struggle to Rid Itself of Ebola

GIZMODO by Mark Honigsbaum - Mosaic                                                 April 21, 2015

The worst of the Ebola epidemic may be over but the World Health Organization has declared that life in Sierra Leone, as in other Ebola-affected West African countries, can only return to normal when transmission of the virus ceases and cases drop to zero. Unfortunately, not everyone in Sierra Leone is so concerned...

Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, was having trouble ‘getting to zero’, and his underlings were getting antsy. “We need one more push,” said Major Palo Conteh, the commander of Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and a former Olympic quarter miler. “It’s like in the 400 metres when you’re 20m from the finish line, that’s the time to kick hard.”

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