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Ebola aid dogged by coordination lags in Guinea

ASSOCIATED PRESS  By MICHELLE FAUL and JAMEY KEATEN Nov. 27, 2014

CONAKRY, Guinea --   ...President Alpha Conde says his government must coordinate the  (expected French)  response, one that aid workers say is confusing and inefficient. Overall the responsibility for the crisis has changed hands several times, from WHO’s regional Africa office, to its headquarters and finally to the U.N. mission.

“It’s difficult for us to understand who is working for (which) WHO” - the local Africa division or the central office in Geneva, said Pascal Piguet, a logistics expert with Doctors Without Borders who leads the Ebola treatment center in the southern town of Gueckedou....

Oyewale Tomori, a professor of virology at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria who sits on WHO’s emergency committee on Ebola, said countries themselves should be coordinating the Ebola control efforts with help from agencies like the U.S. CDC and WHO. “But that’s not happening. We have a very fractured response,” Tomori added....

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Despite Aid Push, Ebola Is Raging in Sierra Leone

NEW YORK TIMES   By Jeffrey Gettleman                        Nov.28, 2014

KISSI TOWN, Sierra Leone-- ...While health officials say they are making headway against the Ebola epidemic in neighboring Liberia, the disease is still raging in Sierra Leone, despite the big international push. In November alone, the World Health Organization has reported more than 1,800 new cases in this country, about three times as many as in Liberia, which until recently had been the center of the outbreak....

On Freetown’s outskirts, burly youth are setting up roadblocks. The police are nowhere to be found. The young men barricade the road brandishing digital thermometers. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

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Scientists: 'Positive' results in 1st human trial of experimental Ebola vaccine

CNN -- By Laura Smith-Spark                              Nov. 27, 2014

The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said, raising hopes that protection from the deadly disease may be on the horizon.

All 20 healthy adults who received the vaccine in a trial run by researchers from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland produced an immune response and developed anti-Ebola antibodies, the NIH said Wednesday.

None suffered serious side effects, although two people developed a brief fever within a day of vaccination.

The vaccine is being developed by the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. The process has been fast-tracked in light of the current catastrophic Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has claimed more than 5,000 lives.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/27/health/ebola-outbreak/

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Electricity from Renewables Cost Competitive with Coal

energymanagertoday.com - by Linda Hardesty
November 26, 2014

Although a recent story from Spectrum IEEE said Google researchers gave up on a project to produce electricity from renewables more cheaply than electricity from coal, a story in the New York Times says some renewable electricity is already cost competitive with coal.

The story cites a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, which finds the cost of utility-scale solar is as low as 5.6 cents per kWh, and wind is as low as 1.4 cents, while natural gas comes in at 6.1 cents and coal at 6.6 cents.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Lazard's Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis - Version 8.0 (20 page .PDF file)

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Sierra Leone Seeks U.S. Military Help to Fight Ebola

         

Health workers spray themselves with chlorine disinfectants after removing the body a woman who died of Ebola virus in the Aberdeen district of Freetown, Sierra Leone, October 14, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Josephus Olu-Mammah

reuters.com - by Emma Farge - November 26, 2014

(Reuters) - Sierra Leone appealed to the United States on Wednesday to send military aid to help it battle Ebola as it falls behind its West African neighbors Guinea and Liberia in the fight against the virus.

The worst recorded Ebola outbreak has killed at least 5,689 people, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, as the virus has overwhelmed African countries with weak infrastructure and healthcare systemS.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

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Ebola discoverer Piot sees long, bumpy road to ending epidemic

REUTERS      By Kate Kelland                                                                                                  Nov. 26, 2014

LONDON --West Africa's Ebola epidemic could worsen further before abating but new infections should start to decline in all affected countries by the end of this year, a leading specialist on the disease said on Wednesday.

Peter Piot, one of the scientists who first identified the Ebola virus almost 40 years ago, said the outbreak was far from over, but said that "thanks to now massive efforts at all levels" what had been an exponential growth in numbers should soon begin to recede.

The death toll in the worst Ebola epidemic on record has risen to 5,459 out of 15,351 cases identified in eight countries by November 18, latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed. Almost all those cases are in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

"By the end of the year we should start seeing a real decline everywhere," Piot, who is now director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told a meeting of public health experts, non-governmental organizations and officials.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/26/us-health-ebola-piot-idUSKCN0JA1AQ20141126

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As Ebola Pingpongs In Liberia, Cases Disappear Into The Jungle

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO   By Kelly Mcevers                                                  Nov. 25, 2014
There's a new phase of Ebola in Liberia. Epidemiologists call it pingponging.

A rural health clinic about five hours outside Monrovia, Liberia. The clinic has a few rooms and no electricity.Kelly       McEvers/NPR

Back in March, the disease was found in the rural areas. Then as people came to the capital to seek care, it started growing exponentially there. Now, some sick people are going back to their villages, and the disease has pingponged to the rural areas again.

Read complete story and hear broadcast

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/11/25/366381386/as-ebola-ping-pongs-in-liberia-cases-disappear-into-the-jungle

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The Race for an Ebola Vaccine

Description of efforts by the big drug companies to develop an Ebloa vaccine
THE NEW YORKER    By Vauhine Vara                        Nov. 25, 2014

"...why this race to create an Ebola vaccine among Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson—three of the world’s biggest drug manufacturers? For years, pharmaceutical companies didn’t invest much in vaccines, partly because they were so costly and complicated to produce: they’re often made out of live bacteria, which are notoriously difficult to work with. But, over the past several years, companies have realized that the difficulties of making vaccines could be an asset, because they can make it more difficult for generic-drug companies to create copycat versions than for prescription drugs. The vaccine market has also been growing more quickly than the prescription-drug market. The World Health Organization estimates, based on various sources, that global vaccine sales rose from five billion dollars in 2000 to twenty-four billion dollars last year...."

Read complete article
http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/race-ebola-vaccine

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Here’s How the Ebola Vaccine Trial Is Doing

TIME MAGAZINE By Alexandra Sifferlin                          Nov. 25, 2014
 By  Alexandra Sifferlin                       

Scientists are scurrying to get their Ebola vaccines through the necessary safety trials before they can be used widely. That includes the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which recently kicked off the latest step in their research: figuring out the appropriate dosing for the vaccine that’s both effective and safe.

The University of Maryland is one of a handful of institutions involved in the testing of an experimental but promising vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The hope is that the vaccine will pass through early trials needed by end of December so that the World Health Organization (WHO) and a panel of outside experts can decide whether to move on to a large efficacy trial, which would mean vaccinating a lot of people in West Africa to see how well it works.

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Ebola In Mali: Eighth Person Tests Positive In Mali, Which Is Monitoring 271 People For Symptoms

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES              By Sneha Shankar                                                 Nov.25, 2014

Officials in Mali confirmed an eighth case of the Ebola virus and said that it is monitoring 271 people suspected to have been infected by the virus. Mali is the sixth country to be dealing with the deadliest outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has so far killed over 5,400 people.

The government of Mali said that the latest case of Ebola closely follows another case, which was confirmed on Saturday, and both patients have been kept under isolation in an Ebola treatment center in the country, Reuters reported. All of the six previous cases, who tested positive for Ebola in the country, have died.

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