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What providers can learn from infectious disease outbreaks

FIERCEHEALTHCARE                 by                                                                Jan. 5. 2015

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With the Ebola crisis far from over as a new year begins, both this current threat to global health as well as past infectious disease outbreaks carry important lessons for critical care providers, according to an article in the American Journal of Critical Care.

Because new pathogens are so unpredictable, "outbreaks reinforce the importance of critical care knowledge, skill and teamwork in uncertain situations," wrote Cindy L. Munro, R.N., Ph.D., and Richard H. Savel, M.D, both editors of the AJCC. "The recent Ebola outbreak reminds us that hand-washing, personal protective equipment and pristine technique are essential."

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The Race for the Ebola Vaccine

THE DAILY BEAST  by Abby Haglage                                                                  Jan. 7, 2015

...Although a few smaller companies have become involved in the race for a vaccine, three major pharmaceutical makers are taking the lead—each pursuing a different vaccine. The trials are unprecedented for a variety of reasons, including the rapid timeline (trials of this nature generally take three to four years).

                                                      Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Each individual race involves an unusual collaboration between researchers, manufacturers, and public-health entities. Together, the teams are working 24 hours a day for a product that promises much higher risk than it does profit.

Here’s what you need to know about the Ebola vaccine front-runners.

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http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/07/the-race-for-the-ebola-vaccine.html

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J&J, Bavarian Nordic start clinical tests in Ebola vaccine race

REUTERS     by Ben Hirschler                              Jan. 6, 2015
LONDON --Johnson & Johnson has started clinical trials of its experimental Ebola vaccine, which uses a booster from Denmark's Bavarian Nordic, making it the third such shot to enter human testing.

The initiation of the Phase I study in Britain, which had been expected about now, marks further progress in the race to develop a vaccine against a disease that has killed more than 8,000 people in West Africa since last year.

Two other experimental vaccines, one from GlaxoSmithKline and a rival from NewLink and Merck, are already in clinical development. However, the J&J vaccine offers a different approach, since it involves two separate injections.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/06/us-health-ebola-vaccine-j-j-idUSKBN0KF0HH20150106

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Merck-NewLink Ebola vaccine trial resumes at lower dose: Geneva hospital

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REUTERS                                                       Jan. 5, 2015

GENEVA --The clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck and NewLink resumed on Monday at a lower dose after a pause to assess complaints of joint pains in some volunteers, the University of Geneva hospital said.

The Geneva hospital announced on Dec. 11 that its vaccine trial had been suspended as a precautionary measure after four patients complained of joint pains. On Monday, the hospital said 10 of 59 volunteers who received the vaccine had felt pains in their joints "similar to rheumatism" after some two weeks, but these symptoms had disappeared rapidly without any treatment.

Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory agency, and ethics and safety committees have approved the resumption of the trial at a lower dose, the hospital said in a statement.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/05/us-health-ebola-vaccine-idUSKBN0KE0XP20150105
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Ebola survivors in west Africa to share stories via mobile app

REUTERS                                                            Jan. 4, 2015   

Ebola survivors in the three west African countries worst hit by the epidemic will share their stories through a mobile application to be launched on Monday, in a Unicef-backed campaign to inform and fight stigma around the disease.

...Although many people have survived the disease, they still face rejection and stigma from their communities, while the virus continues to spread due to lack of information and denial, according to the WHO and other health organisations.

The campaign, called #ISurvivedEbola, is funded by US philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft Paul G Allen’s foundation which has committed $100m to fight the disease. Unicef, the UN children’s agency is collaborating in the project.

Survivors in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia will be given smartphones and will document their stories and exchange tips on how to cope with it for a mobile app which will be available to the public, the backers said in a statement.

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FDA allows testing of Aethlon device in Ebola patients

REUTERS                                                        Jan. 2, 2015

SAN DIEGO- Calif. --Aethlon Medical Inc said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved the testing in Ebola patients of its bio-filtration device, which was used against the deadly virus in a critically ill patient in Germany who later recovered.

The device, being developed as a broad-spectrum countermeasure against pandemic threats, filters viruses and toxins from the blood.

It is currently being tested in India for its ability to accelerate viral load depletion when used in combination with hepatitis C standard-of-care drug therapy.

Patients will be treated for six to eight hours daily with the device, called Aethlon's Hemopurifier, until the Ebola viral load drops below 1,000 copies/ml.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/02/health-ebola-aethlon-med-idUSL3N0UH15720150102

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Opinion: How Next Generation Technology Can Stop Ebola Today And Future Pandemics Tomorrow

FORBES   by Anita Goel (chairman and CEO of the Nanobiosym Research Institute and Nanobiosym Diagnostics.)                Dec. 30, 2014

Today, even the world’s best hospitals rely upon a thermometer, a 400-year old technology, to decide who to quarantine for Ebola. The ambiguity in our current approaches to diagnosing Ebola has resulted in over 1400 Ebola suspects in the U.S. today who still have not received a definitive diagnosis.

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Fight against Ebola requires district-by-district approach – head of UN response mission

UNITED NATIONS NEWS CENTRE                                                                                 Dec. 30, 2014

MONROVIA, Liberia --The outgoing head of the head of the United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Mission (UNMEER) said today that communities are going to play a big role in defeating the “nasty disease” in West Africa by stamping out outbreaks while they are small and not allowing them to become bigger.

The body of a suspected Ebola case in Sierra Leone is taken by an International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) team on 24 December to the cemetery where it was buried in a dignified way. UN Photo/Martine Perret

“Ebola is a very nasty disease, and it’s going to present us with some very unpleasant surprises I fear going forward,” Anthony Banbury told UN Radio in Monrovia, Liberia. “And that’s why we really need to strengthen our capabilities.....”

...While acknowledging the difficulty in getting Ebola response workers to some of the remote areas, he emphasized the importance of a district by district strategy and said: “We really need to be present out in the districts....”

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Automated mobile phone service hopes to stop spread of Ebola in west Africa

THE GUARDIAN  by Mark Anderson                                                                    Dec. 30, 2014

People in rural areas of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea battling Ebola could be helped by an automated phone service that offers advice about how to avoid contracting the virus.

Startup company Halt!Ebola is using “robocalling” to reach people where information hotlines are not being used.

The company is trying to acquire mobile phone numbers from the networks operating in these regions to enable them to make the calls. When people answer, an audio message with information and advice about the virus is played back.

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Ebola’s lessons, painfully learned at great cost in dollars and human lives

In-Depth report on lessons to be learned from the Ebola crisis

THE WASHINGTON POST by By Lena H. Sun, Brady Dennis and Joel Achenbach                            Dec. 29, 2014

A year after it began, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to be unpredictable, forcing governments and aid groups to improvise strategies as they chase a virus that is unencumbered by borders or bureaucracy.

The people fighting Ebola are coming up with lists of lessons learned — not only for the current battle, which has killed more than 7,500 people and is far from over, but also for future outbreaks of deadly contagions.

Alice Jallabah, head of a bushmeat seller group, holds dried bushmeat in Monrovia. (Zoom Dosso/AFP/Getty Images)

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