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U.S. Buys Up Ebola Gear, Leaving Little for Africa

Manufacturers Strain to Meet Demand Amid Rising Anxiety

WALL STREET JOURNAL                                                                                                       Nov. 25, 2014
 By Drew Hinshaw in Accra, Ghana, and Jacob Bunge in Chicago

Protective suits were running low in Sierra Leone this month, when a Christian charity decided to ship some over. The charity turned to American medical-wear suppliers, which came back with bad news: The suits needed to treat Ebola are running low in America, too.

A worker wearing Personal Protective Equipment has his name written on his suit before leaving an Ebola treatment center in Guinea last week. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

“There’s been some sleepless nights,” said Jennifer Mounsey, director of corporate engagement for World Vision, the Christian humanitarian group based in Monrovia, Calif. “We’re all sweating bullets.”

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The suit designed to come between NHS Ebola workers and death

THE TELEGRAPH     By Rosa  Silverman                                                                                      Nov.23, 2014

With its domed helmet, protective outer apron and thick boots, this is the kit National Health Service medics are depending on to save their lives as they fight Ebola in Africa.

More than 30 volunteers from the UK arrived in Sierra Leone today, prepared to join the effort to combat the deadly virus.

The medics, who came from across Britain and flew from London’s Heathrow airport on Saturday, were the first batch of NHS volunteers to be deployed by the Government after more than a thousand came forward to offer their services.

Among them are GPs, nurses, psychiatrists and emergency medicine consultants, all of whom will work in treatment centres built by British Army Royal Engineers and funded by the Department for International Development.

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Researchers Develop Real-Time Monitoring for Ebola Outbreaks

VOICE OF AMERICA                                                                                                        Nov. 20, 2014
By Joe DeCapua
Knowing where the Ebola hot spots are in a country is crucial to getting an outbreak quickly under control. Many have criticized the initial slow response to the West Africa outbreak, saying it’s a big reason the virus quickly spread. Now, a German research center is developing a project to monitor Ebola and other outbreaks in real time.

Professor Gérard Krause said the new project – called EBOKON – uses real-time monitoring to better manage an outbreak.Krause is head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research – and EBOKON project leader for the German Center for Infection Research....

He said, “This is an information technology tool that we are developing together with colleagues from Nigeria that will take care of all those management aspects.”

The EBOKON project calls for setting up a command center, so to speak, in the capital of affected countries. Then health workers would use cellphones to relay in real time information on suspected cases around the country.

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WHO plans to speed development of Ebola rapid test

By Lisa Schnirring                                               Nov.18, 2014

Quicker and simpler diagnostic tests for Ebola could go a long way in helping break chains of disease transmission in West Africa's outbreak region, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today, as it unveiled two new initiatives to expedite their development.

The WHO said it hopes new efforts—similar to those under way to test and deliver an Ebola vaccine—can compress the development of a rapid test in months instead of years.

A Navy worker extracts RNA from a patient sample at a Naval mobile lab in Liberia. US Army Africa

Standard reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests used in mobile and other labs in the outbreak are very accurate when conducted by trained staff, but they require a full tube of blood, take 2 to 6 hours to get a result, and costs around $100 per test, the WHO said today in a statement....

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Why mobile data to prevent Ebola has not yet been released

THE ECONOMIST                                                                                Nov.9, 2014

The number of new cases of Ebola in west Africa is decreasing, suggesting that quickly-enacted emergency precautions have so far been successful. Yet there is a valuable tool that epidemiologists would like to use to track the disease and help stamp it out: data from mobile phones.

These "call data records" identify where the device is and has been, along with its proximity to other devices, among other things. It lets experts infer, with empirical data and in real-time, where people are, and how many, and where they are probably headed. Yet despite talks among researchers, phone companies, governments—and even UN agencies and the GSMA, the mobile-industry’s trade association—the records have not yet been released. Why not?

It is not for a lack of utility. A bevvy of cases already underscore the data’s usefulness.....

If the data are so helpful, why are they not used? Several factors are to blame....

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White House mulls using robots to fight Ebola outbreak

How robots could be used to fight Ebola    

(Two stories, scroll down)

TECH  TIMES                                               Nov. 9, 2014
Dianne Depra

With the Ebola virus claiming nearly 5,000 lives, it's understandable why the White House is now considering options outside of traditional means to help curb the outbreak, enlisting robot technology to join in the fight.

Officials gathered together specialists on Nov. 7, holding discussions at University of California, Berkeley, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Texas A&M University to talk about how robots can be utilized to aid health workers in West Africa.

The day was intended to inspire research committees in various sectors to assess how they may be able to take advantage of innovation and technology and assist the international effort against Ebola, according to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

See related story:

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Researchers Seek Crucial Tool: A Fast, Finger-Prick Ebola Test

NEW YORK TIMES                                  Nov. 5, 2014

Searching for a new way to attack Ebola, companies and academic researchers are now racing to develop faster and easier tests for determining whether someone has the disease.

A researcher checks an Ebola diagnostic test in Marcoule, France.  Credit Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Such tests might require only a few drops of blood rather than a test tube of it, and provide the answer on the spot, without having to send the sample to a laboratory.

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Hospital Records Are Adapting to Flag Ebola

A New Application Matches Patient’s Travel and Family History With Medical Symptoms

WALL STREET JOURNAL                         Nov. 3, 2014
By Melina Beck

A month ago, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston had no way to flag in its electronic medical records if an incoming patient had been to West Africa and had symptoms suggesting Ebola.

Now it does. Five days after the first U.S. case was confirmed in Texas, the hospital deployed a new Ebola application made by QPID Health Inc. that automatically matches a patient’s travel and family history with medical symptoms. If Ebola is suspected, the application flashes a blinking “Q” to alert hospital personnel.

Dr. Garry Choy, who helped design Mass General’s QPID system. Dominick Reuter

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WHO Updates Guidelines on Ebola Protective Gear

A U.S. doctor in a protective suit in Liberia adjust that of a colleague before entering an Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia in this photo released Sept. 16, 2014.

These updated guidelines aim to clarify and standardize safe and effective PPE options to protect health care workers and patients, as well as provide information for procurement of PPE stock in the current Ebola outbreak. The guidelines are based on a review of evidence of PPE use during care of suspected and confirmed Ebola virus disease patients.

Read complete announcement

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Ebola: Better Maps Could Have Helped Fight Virus

How Maps Could Help Fight Ebola

SKY NEWS                                             Oct. 0, 2014

By Tom Cheshire, Technology Correspondent

LONDON -- Better maps could have helped contain the deadly Ebola virus, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Ivan Gaytan, technology advisor to MSF, told Sky News the disease is "preventable" and could have been "easier to contain" if there was more knowledge of the region.

He said: "In any country where Ebola or any other infectious disease arrives, if you already have a good map which actually reflects the way people describe geography, you set up your clinical activities to take that data in the first place in the right way."

MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, will launch a project next month called Missing Maps, which lets anyone, anywhere in the world, annotate maps to show dwellings and infrastructure.

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