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Cooler box-equipped motorbikes donated to UN will speed up Ebola testing process in West Africa

UNITED NATIONS NEWS CENTRE                                                                             Dec. 4, 2014
Four hundred motorbikes equipped with cooler boxes will help speed up deliveries of blood samples to laboratories from remote areas of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and reduce the waiting time for Ebola test results, thanks to a donation today from Germany to the United Nations.

Four hundred cooler box-equipped motorbikes for the Ebola Response were officially handed over to the UN Humanitarian Response Depot by German Ambassador to Ghana Ruediger John, and will be used to bring blood samples to labs in the most affected areas of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. UNMEER Photo/Martine Perret

At UN Headquarters, meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters that the immediate priorities of the United Nations are to stop the virus and to treat all the people who have Ebola. “We have to ensure that all essential services are provided, and also we have to help them preserve their social and political stability, and keeping a further outbreak from happening.”

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What Ebola Is Teaching Us About Hard Trends

WIRED     Essay by David Burris                                                                                        Dec. 14, 2014

...Deadly and infectious viruses such as Ebola are an inevitable and unavoidable fact of nature. In other words, they are examples of a Hard Trend. And they demand new innovations in order to combat them.

...the deadly force of Ebola is the kind of imminent threat that inspires human minds to new heights. It teaches us that Hard Trends come at us fast and provide the catalyst to overcome inertia and bring about technological innovations.


Communication is key to mobilizing populations in countries affected by Ebola. In order to treat the sick and prevent the spread of the disease, healthcare workers need to be able to coordinate with people on the frontline and know where to send supplies. At the moment, telecommunications technologies are not keeping pace with the intense demands that Ebola creates.

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Sierra Leonean in US Sends Medical Supplies Home to Combat Ebola - by Deborah Block - Nov 26, 2014

On Thanksgiving day in the United States, Americans give thanks for their blessings. Among them is Bobby Smith, who emigrated to here 25 years ago from Sierra Leone. To give back, three years ago Smith began a small volunteer organization, Hope for Lives in Sierra Leone, to help the disadvantaged in his homeland -- one of the poorest countries in the world. As VOA’s Deborah Block reports, he now is sending medical supplies to help combat Ebola, which continues to devastate Sierra Leone.

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Finding the Ebola virus’ vulnerable points

Three copies of the Ebola glycoprotein (blue) with antibodies (yellow) latched on to them. Picture by Stanfordby Shalini Saxena - Nov 30 2014 -

We know what antibodies stop it in its tracks—we now know where they attach.

The latest Ebola outbreak has dwarfed any that have occurred since the discovery of the virus in 1976; previous outbreaks have had lethality rates of up to 90 percent. Yet no vaccines or therapies are currently approved for human use, which limits our ability to treat patients and contain the outbreak. Mixtures of monoclonal antibodies (see sidebar) are a potential treatment option that has been used experimentally.

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In Liberia, Ebola Shifts From Cities To Villages

November 30, 2014 - Rachel Martin - - Copyright © 2014 NPR

Liberia has been a death zone for those exposed to the Ebola virus. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with correspondent Kelly McEvers about what she saw on the ground, and what she will find hard to forget.


The death toll in the largest Ebola outbreak in history continues to rise in West Africa. Just this past week, the World Health Organization reported 600 new cases in the three hardest hit countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Liberia had been the epicenter of the outbreak. But now the country with the largest number of victims is neighboring Sierra Leone. NPR reporters have been covering the story in both countries. NPR's Kelly McEvers is about to finish nearly two weeks in Liberia. She joins us on the line. Hi, Kelly.

Read the whole interview:

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U.N. Mission Warns That Ebola Still Poses ‘Huge’ Global Threat

A mother and child stand atop their mattresses in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward on Aug. 15, 2014, in Monrovia, Liberiaby Elizabeth Barber - Dec. 1, 2014 -

The U.N. mission is urging that the longer the disease is allowed to storm West Africa, the more likely it is that the virus will reappear elsewhere in the world.

The head of the U.N. Ebola mission in West Africa has said there is a “huge risk” of the Ebola outbreak expanding beyond the hard-hit region.

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WHO Says Liberia, Guinea Meeting Ebola Targets

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To halt Ebola's spread, researchers race for data

DISCOVER MAGAZINE    By Kari Lydersen                                                                              Dec. 2, 2014
.....redicting the trajectory of Ebola rather than playing catching-up could do much to help prevent and contain the disease. Some experts have called for prioritizing mobile treatment units that can be quickly relocated to the spots most needed. Figuring out where Ebola is likely to strike next or finding emerging hot spots early on would be key to the placement of these treatment centers.

But such modeling requires data, and lots of it.  And for stressed healthcare workers on the ground and government and non-profit agencies scrambling to combat a raging epidemic, collecting and disseminating data is often not a high priority.

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Locking Ebola out of Sierra Leone jails

IRIN                                                              Dec. 1, 2014

DAKAR--It is next to impossible to avoid physical contact in an overcrowded prison. In Sierra Leone, heavily congested jails and a worsening Ebola outbreak make a potentially lethal combination. So how do you keep inmates safe?

                          Decongesting prisons in Sierra Leone to lower Ebola threat.Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN

Some of the safeguards against the virus are: A 21-day quarantine for fresh detainees before joining the old timers; training prison health workers and inmate leaders on Ebola prevention; and providing health and safety education and equipment.

Such measures, and others, have so far helped keep the virus out of Sierra Leone’s 17 prisons and three juvenile offenders’ homes, said Mambu Feika, head of NGO Prison Watch Sierra Leone (PWSL), which is spearheading a three-month programme to prevent Ebola transmission in prisons.

See full story

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Ebola outbreak: West Africa death toll nears 7,000

29 Nov 2014 - BBC

Protective measures are key to stopping the spread of the virusThe number of people killed by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 6,928, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

The toll has increased by over 1,000 since the WHO's last report on Wednesday, but it includes unreported deaths from earlier in the outbreak.

Experts say the infection rate is more significant that the death toll, as it reflects how the virus is spreading. Infection rates are decreasing in Liberia, but are high in Sierra Leone.

There have been over 16,000 reported cases in Guinea, Sierra and Liberia.

Latest Ebola death tolls

Liberia: 7,244 cases, 4,181 deaths

Sierra Leone: 6,802 cases, 1,463 deaths

Guinea: 2,123 cases, 1,284 deaths

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