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Report by the Director-General to the Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola

 

Statement by Dr. Margaret, Director-General of the World Health Organization to a Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola

WHO PRESS OFFICE, Geneva                                                                                       Jan. 25, 2015

Excerpt:

"The Ebola outbreak points to the need for urgent change in three main areas: to rebuild and strengthen national and international emergency preparedness and response, to address the way new medical products are brought to market, and to strengthen the way WHO operates during emergencies."

Read complete statement.

http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2015/executive-board-ebola/en/

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WHO Board Agrees on Reforms to Fix Ebola Response Mistakes

GENEVA-- The World Health Organization’s board agreed to create a special fund to respond to such outbreaks as Ebola and to set up a global health emergency workforce after the organization acknowledged mis-steps in its response to the epidemic.

 The WHO’s executive board agreed “in principle” at a meeting in Geneva Sunday to a contingency fund, and asked Director General Margaret Chan to develop by May options on its size and sources. Chan should also take immediate steps to establish a public-health reserve workforce that can be promptly deployed in response to health emergencies, according to the resolution adopted by senior health officials from 34 countries.

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UN Ebola Chief Calls for Final Funding Push to Defeat Virus in West Africa

      

Ebola treatment centres have often not been completed until the virus has passed its peak.
Photograph: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images

UN’s lead Ebola co-ordinator en route to Davos says last third of the $1.5bn pledged to tackle disease needs to be paid in order to end the outbreak

theguardian.com - by Sarah Boseley - January 20, 2015

Half a billion dollars of aid pledged to end the Ebola outbreak in west Africa still hasn’t been paid, according to the UN’s response co-ordinator.

Dr David Nabarro, in London and on his way to Davos to discuss progress against Ebola and future plans, said about two-thirds of the promised $1.5bn had been paid so far. “This last third is the most precious money but probably the most difficult money,” he told the Guardian. “My focus over the next few days here and in Davos is trying to ensure we have enough money to enable the task to be completed.

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Common Generic Drug May Cure Ebola

PHARMACY TIMES   by Monica V. Mahoney, Pharms D, -BCPS-AQ ID                                            Jan. 15, 2015
Monica V. Mahoney, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID
Monica V. Mahoney, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID
Monica V. Mahoney, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID
Several antibody-mediated, antiviral-focused, and vaccine-derived approaches are currently being investigated, but a major setback to many of these modalities is the time it takes to produce the interventions.
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How Doctors Without Borders Is Fighting Malaria and Ebola at the Same Time

Treating malaria makes Ebola care easier

TIME MAGAZINE   by                                                                   Jan. 16, 2015
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is launching its second mass distribution of treatments for malaria in Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone, a move that may have the positive side effect of helping ease the burden of Ebola cases.

Malaria... causes many of the same symptoms as Ebola. It’s common for people to come to Ebola treatment centers believing they have Ebola, when in fact they have malaria—which crowds the clinics and causes enormous stress for patients and their families. Treating malaria and preventing infection are ways MSF can ensure that they reduce the number of patients at Ebola treatment centers in addition to saving lives, since more people fall ill and die from malaria than Ebola.

Read complete story.

http://time.com/3671597/doctors-without-borders-malaria-ebola/

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At Least One Major Oil Company Will Turn Its Back on Fossil Fuels, Says Scientist

Jeremy Leggett: 'One of the oil companies will break ranks and this time it is going to stick.'
Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

submitted by Margery Schab

Jeremy Leggett, former industry adviser, warns over plunging commodity prices and soaring costs of risky energy projects

The oil price crash coupled with growing concerns about global warming will encourage at least one of the major oil companies to turn its back on fossil fuels in the near future, predicts an award-winning scientist and former industry adviser.

Dr Jeremy Leggett, who has had consultations on climate change with senior oil company executives over 25 years, says it will not be a rerun of the BP story when the company launched its “beyond petroleum” strategy and then did a U-turn.

“One of the oil companies will break ranks and this time it is going to stick,” he said.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Ebola treatment centre for pregnant women opens

BBC         by Tulip Mazumdar                                       Jan. 14, 2015

FREETOWN --Sierre Leone-- The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has opened its first Ebola treatment centre specialising in care for infected pregnant women.

MSF says the death rate for expectant mothers is extremely high, and health workers treating them, particularly during childbirth or miscarriage, are especially vulnerable to catching the virus.

Building work is still continuing at the maternity section of the latest MSF Ebola clinic on the outskirts of the capital. It is been erected at the site of one of the city's most prestigious secondary schools, Methodist Boys High School, in Kissy.

The classrooms are empty - schools have been closed for months. The playing area is now home to MSF's sixth treatment centre in Sierra Leone. When it is fully operational, it will have 80 beds, and a special focus on treating pregnant women suspected or confirmed to have Ebola.

Read full story.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30780176

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Magic Blood? Emory's Ebola Plasma Bank

NBC NEWS   by Maggie Fox                                                                      Jan. 14, 2015
Cup by cup, Emory University is collecting bags of liquid gold from the small club of American Ebola survivors.

They're collecting the plasma as part of an experiment to see if transfusing blood from people who have lived through the horrific infection can save the newly ill. Many of the survivors have been given this so-called convalescent plasma, but no one knows if it's actually helping.

"The protocol allows us to collect and transfuse convalescent plasma from U.S. Ebola survivors," says Dr. Anne Winkler, the Emory pathologist overseeing the study. "This is a completely voluntary process."

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Broad Institute analyzes Ebola genomes

MIT THE TECH  by Jennifer F. Switzer                         Jan. 14, 2015

CAMBRIDGE , MA-- At the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in a lab run by accomplished computational geneticist Pardis Sabeti ’97, researchers have collaborated with institutions in the U.S. and abroad to sequence and analyze more than 99 Ebola virus genomes collected by fellow scientists in Sierra Leone. They are on the lookout for mutations that could aid in developing new treatment options for Ebola, or that could serve as indications that the virus is evolving to become more deadly.

Contained within the virus’s 19,000 base-pair genome, the team has found more than 300 genetic changes that separate the 2014 Ebola virus from its predecessors. Of interest is one particular cluster of mutations which, having outlasted other genetic variations, could possibly be conferring some sort of genetic advantage to the virus ebola patients for sequencing.

Read complete story.
http://tech.mit.edu/V134/N62/ebola.htm

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Ebola Response Provides Key Lessons for Risk Communications

Commentary: The CDC fumbled initial communications about Ebola transmission but recovered. What about next time?

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT  by Jim McKay                                                              Jan. 13, 2015

It would be interesting to see what would happen if there was another Ebola scare in the U.S. The answer might depend on when it happened and perhaps where the person became infected. But chances are the health infrastructure would handle it, and perhaps respond to another infectious disease outbreak much better, having had the experience that the recent Ebola episodes provided.

That experience included hiccups and communication errors that resulted not in panic but disagreement on the part of some in the health community and alarm in the public. One target of criticism is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was confident from the beginning in expressing that hospitals throughout the U.S. were ready to handle Ebola cases and messaging to the public about the difficulty of transmission of the infection. The CDC chose not to participate in this discussion....

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