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App enables self-reporting of possible Ebola symptoms in Maryland d.

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                     April 1, 2015

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore company and Maryland public health officials are announcing a smartphone and Web application for self-reporting possible Ebola symptoms.

Emocha Mobile Health Inc. said Wednesday that people returning from affected West African nations can use the app to report their temperature and any symptoms twice daily to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The federal government recommends such reporting for 21 days.

The state health agency has operated a call center since October for monitoring people known to have been in affected countries. The app eventually will link to the state's database of such individuals to automate the reporting of data to Maryland and federal authorities.

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BioCryst gets HHS contract for Ebola drug development

CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY by Lisa Schnerring               March 31, 2015

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that it has awarded BioCryst Pharmaceuticals a $12 million grant to continue development of BCX4430, a small-molecule drug designed to treat Ebola and other filovirus infections, and to prepare for large-scale manufacturing of the agent.

Studies in nonhuman primates suggest that the drug is effective against Ebola and Marburg viruses and could be useful as a broad-spectrum antiviral, the HHS said in a statement. BCX4430 is currently in phase 1 human trials, and if results show safety, it could be one of the treatments to be tested for efficacy in clinical trials.

BCX4430 is the first small-molecule Ebola treatment that BARDA has supported. Other Ebola products in development that have received BARDA funding include the monoclonal antibody cocktail ZMapp and three vaccines.
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Measures to safeguard schools in Ebola-hit Liberia point to need for continued vigilance

 When students returned to school in Liberia, they learned about the importance of good hygiene. Now they’re teaching others.

UNICEF BY  Tim Irwin                                         March 30, 2015

MONROVIA, Liberia, Classes at the Slipway primary school in central Monrovia resumed only a few weeks ago, but the new morning drill is already well established.

In Liberia, schools were closed for six months because of the Ebola epidemic. Now that class is back in session, students are following a new set of protocols to stave off infection with the deadly disease. Here, children queue to wash their hands before morning devotionals.

“We rub our palms together 10 times, wash between our fingers five times, around our thumbs five times and then scrub around our nails,” says Grace Winnie, who is in Grade 4.

Schools across Liberia reopened on 16 February, following a six-month closure because of the Ebola crisis. UNICEF has helped put in place new procedures aimed at minimizing the risk of infection.

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The End of Ebola? Lessons at the Epidemic's One Year Anniversary

Columbia University                                            March 30, 2015

One year ago, the current Ebola epidemic was announced to the world. Since then, we have learned and accomplished an enormous amount....

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Ebola rapid diagnostic kit developed by UK scientists in Sierra Leone

Doctors says the kit, if approved by health authorities, could transform the admissions process with its capacity to deliver results within 20 minutes

THE GUARDIAN    by Lisa O'Carroll                              March 29, 2015

A rapid Ebola diagnostic kit similar to a pregnancy kit has been developed by British military scientists and NHS medics in Sierra Leone.

Health care workers prepare to entering a high risk zone at an Ebola virus clinic in Sierra Leone, where the diagnostic kit has been undergoing tests. Photograph: Michael Duff/AP

It can be administered at the bedside and return its first results within 20 minutes, slashing dramatically the normal 24-hour turnaround for lab results.

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Costa Rica Powered Entirely by Renewables So Far This Year

The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Image: The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. Photo credit: Shutterstock - March 23rd 2015 - Tierney Smith

For the last 82 days, Costa Rica has powered itself using only renewable energy sources

That means the Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015.

Last week, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced that 100 percent of the country’s electricity came from renewables for the first 75 days of the year, as heavy rains boosted the country’s hydroelectric power plants.


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Liberia Recommends Ebola Survivors Practice Safe Sex Indefinitely

THE NEW YORK TIMES  by Sheri Fink                                                                          March 29, 2015

The Liberian government recommended on Saturday that survivors of Ebola practice safe sex indefinitely, until more information can be collected on the length of time the virus might remain present in body fluids including semen. Previously, male survivors were advised to abstain from sexual intercourse or to use condoms for three months, reflecting that the active virus had been detected for up to 82 days in semen.

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New Kind of “Tandem” Solar Cell Developed

Tandem solar chips.

Image: Tandem solar chips. - March 25th 2015 - David L. Chandler

Researchers at MIT and Stanford University have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations, the researchers say.

The new cell uses a layer of silicon — which forms the basis for most of today’s solar panels — but adds a semi-transparent layer of a material called perovskite, which can absorb higher-energy particles of light.


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The State of Vaccine Confidence

The Vaccine Confidence Project    2015

Lead Authors:  Heidi Larson, PhD and Will Schulz, MPH
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Aid workers racing to defeat Ebola before the rains come

USA TODAY  by Samwar Fallah and Gregg Zoroya                                              March 28, 2015

MONROVIA, Liberia — Aid workers are rushing into neighboring Guinea to try to stanch a worrisome rise in cases of the deadly Ebola virus, which has been slowed in Sierra Leone and been all but eradicated here.

A man crouches next to the grave of an unknown man (L) at the National Memorial Cemetry on Disco Hill, Margibi County, Liberia, 11 March 2015. The cemetery was established to provide a dignified burial for ebola victims and bring an end to the usual cremation of victims during the outbreak. Liberia on 11 March observed a National Memorial Day to remember, honour, and decorate the graves of the dead. The government of Liberia on 05 March discharged the last ebola patient, thus raising the hopes of the end of the epidemic. EPA/AHMED JALLANZO ORG XMIT: MON107(Photo: AHMED JALLANZO, EPA)

The mission is urgent because the coming rainy season could hamper travel to remote villages where the disease continues to emerge.

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