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Revealed: The Ocean's Tiniest Life At The Bottom Of The Food Chain

Plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a 0.1mm mesh net. Seen here is a mix of multicellular organisms — small zooplanktonic animals, larvae and single protists (diatoms, dinoflagellates, radiolarians) — the nearly invisible universe at the bottom of the marine food chain. Christian Sardet/CNRS/Tara Expeditions

Image: Plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a 0.1mm mesh net. Seen here is a mix of multicellular organisms — small zooplanktonic animals, larvae and single protists (diatoms, dinoflagellates, radiolarians) — the nearly invisible universe at the bottom of the marine food chain. Christian Sardet/CNRS/Tara Expeditions 

npr.org - May 22, 2015 - Christopher Joyce

What's at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain? Well, think small ... smaller than you can see.

Tiny life forms in the ocean, too small for the naked eye to see.

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WHO Director-General Addresses High-Level Meeting on Ebola R&D

                                                           

From crisis to sustainable development: lessons from the Ebola outbreak

who.int - May 10, 2015

. . . three changes will do the most to improve the world’s collective defence against the infectious disease threat.

First, invest in building resilient communities and well-performing health systems that integrate public health and primary health care. Ideally, health systems should aim for universal health coverage, so the poor are not left behind. This requires new thinking and a new approach to health development.

Second, develop the systems, capacities, and financing mechanisms needed to build surge capacity for responding to outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies.

Third, create incentives for R&D for new medical products for diseases that primarily affect the poor. A fair and just world should not let people die for what boils down to market failure and poverty.

These three things also fit well with the coming agenda for sustainable development that seeks to distribute the benefits of economic growth more evenly and respects our planet’s fragile resources.

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Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine

Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles. Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

Image: Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles. Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

npr.org - May 7th, 2015 - Michaeleen Doucleff

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Ella Foundation announces key outcomes in Ebola vaccine research

BUSINESS STANDARD                                                                        April 27, 2015

HYDERABAD, India --Ella Foundation, which has taken up research for finding a potential vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus, today said it had successfully completed preliminary studies on the virus, which was responsible for high fatalities among humans in central Africa.

The Hyderabad-based foundation said it had completed the preliminary animal (with mice) experiments of the virus' glycoprotein with the targeted adenovirus, and the "immune response results have been good", which would be followed by toxicology tests and the subsequent clinical trials involving human beings.

Adenoviruses are responsible for respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, cystitis, and primary pneumonia in humans, and are therefore used as a clear target to understand the human immunity characteristics in laboratory. However, the efficacy of the vaccine is judged by the outcomes seen in human trials.

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http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ella-foundation-announces-key-outcomes-in-ebola-vaccine-research-115042700631_1.html

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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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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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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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Scientists to share real-time genetic data on deadly MERS, Ebola

REUTERS by Kate Kelland                     April 21, 2015

LONDON, April 21 - Genetic sequence data on two of the deadliest yet most poorly understood viruses are to be made available to researchers worldwide in real time as scientists seek to speed up understanding of Ebola and MERS infections.

The project, led by British scientists with West African and Saudi Arabian collaboration, hopes to encourage laboratories around the world to use the live data -- updated as new cases emerge -- to find new ways to diagnose and treat the killer diseases, and ideally, ultimately, prevent them.

"The collective expertise of the world's infectious disease experts is more powerful than any single lab, and the best way of tapping into this...is to make data freely available as soon as possible," said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity which is funding the work.

The gene sequences, already available for MERS cases and soon to come in the case of Ebola, will be posted on the website virological.org for anyone to see, access and use.

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http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKBN0NC19W20150421?sp=true

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Evaluating Clinical Trial Designs for Investigational Treatments of Ebola Virus Disease

PLOS MEDICINE   by Ben Cooper and others                                                             April 14, 2015
Experimental treatments for Ebola virus disease might reduce EVD mortality. There is uncertainty about the ability of different clinical trial designs to identify effective treatments, and about the feasibility of implementing individually randomised controlled trials during an Ebola epidemic

A treatment evaluation programme for use in EVD was devised using a multi-stage approach (MSA) with two or three stages, including both non-randomised and randomised elements. The probabilities of rightly or wrongly recommending the experimental treatment, the required sample size, and the consequences for epidemic outcomes over 100 d under two epidemic scenarios were compared for the MSA, a sequential randomised controlled trial (SRCT) with up to 20 interim analyses, and, as a reference case, a conventional randomised controlled trial (RCT) without interim analyses.

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http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001815

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