Davos: Western world ‘vulnerable’ to epidemics, warns Ebola expert

BBC  by Joe Miller                                                                                                    Jan. 21, 2015
DAVOS Switzerland -- The Western world is "vulnerable" to epidemics such as Ebola, and must invest more in researching vaccines, a leading scientist has warned.

Prof Peter Piot told the BBC that developed nations would be in "deep trouble" if they failed to adequately prepare for another outbreak.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, he urged global leaders to take a "long-term view". Public health policies must "transcend politics and borders", he said.

The threat of Ebola, and other infectious diseases such as influenza and Sars, are set to be discussed in Switzerland this week, as politicians and business leaders from around the globe gather for the annual WEF.

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http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30907630

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Ebola Fight Needs $1 Billion More as Outbreak Wanes

BLOOMBERG  By Simeon Bennett and Makiko Kitamura                                                       Jan. 21, 2015
(Two links. Scroll below.)

Ebola remains a global health emergency, the United Nations said today as it sought another $1 billion in donations to fight the deadly outbreak in West Africa.

More money is needed for the World Health Organization, Unicef and the World Food Programme, David Nabarro, the UN’s special envoy for Ebola, said at a briefing today at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“We can’t let down our guard,” Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a Bloomberg Television interview at Davos. “We have to get over the finish line and then learn from this experience to build better systems so that it doesn’t get out of control the next time” an infectious disease epidemic occurs.

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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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Ebola, Air Disasters Hit Trust in Institutions: Edelman

                                               (TO ENLARGE - CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW)

      

cnbc.com - by Matt Clinch - January 20, 2015

CLICK HERE - 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer

A rash of unforeseen events in 2014 has left trust in global institutions at six-year lows, according to a new survey released on Tuesday.

The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer - released to coincide with the beginning of the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos - surveyed 27,000 people from 27 countries using 20-minute online interviews.

The results of the annual survey - which is now in its 15th year - revealed an "alarming evaporation" of trust across governments, businesses, media outlets and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

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What the collapse of ancient capitals can teach us about the cities of today

At its peak in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Khmer capital of Angkor sprawled over 1,000 square kilometres. Photograph: Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

Image: At its peak in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Khmer capital of Angkor sprawled over 1,000 square kilometres. Photograph: Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

theguardian.com - January 14th, 2015 - Srinath Perur

After existing for more than a thousand years, the Mayan city of Tikal collapsed in the ninth century. At about the same time, halfway around the world, the city of Angkor was being founded. It would be the grand capital of the Khmer kingdom for six centuries before itself being abandoned.

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Ebola crisis: Guinea schools reopen after five-month closure

BBC                                                                       Jan.19, 2015
Schools have been reopening in Guinea after a five-month closure because of the deadly Ebola outbreak.

Correspondents said the atmosphere at schools was subdued and many pupils had not returned.

                                 Returning pupils had their temperature taken as a precaution

They said parents had been taken by surprise by the government's decision to reopen schools with only four days' notice and many were not prepared.

More than 8,400 people have died in West Africa in the world's worst outbreak of the Ebola virus.

The reopening of schools in Guinea comes four days after the UN said the number of confirmed Ebola cases in the country had fallen to its lowest weekly total since August.

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30879937

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Street Protests Loom as Shortages, Inflation and Oil Slump Hit Venezuela

       

Students block a street as they clash with national guards during a protest against the government in San Cristóbal on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters

As President Nicolás Maduro tours the world in search of financing, the most conciliatory opposition leader says the time has come to mobilise on the streets

theguardian.com - by Sibylla Brodzinski - January 16, 2015

Even Venezuela’s most conciliatory opposition leader has had enough.

Amid sky-high inflation, an absent president, snaking queues outside supermarkets, and plummeting oil prices, Henrique Capriles said this week that the time was ripe to try to force a change.

“We are in a state of emergency,” he said on Monday. “This is the time to mobilise in the streets.”

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Mali government, UN declare country Ebola-free

AFP                                                                Jan. 18, 2015

BAMAKO - The Malian government and the United Nations on Sunday declared the country free of Ebola after 42 days without any new cases of the deadly virus.

A man washes his hand in the village of Kouremale, Mali, to help prevent the spread of Ebola.

Health Minister Ousmane Kone said no confirmed cases had been registered since December 6 when the last Ebola patient had tested negative.

The west African country "had come out" of the epidemic, Ibrahima Soce Fall, the head of the Malian office of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), confirmed.

Health Minister Ousmane Kone said no confirmed cases had been registered since December 6 when the last Ebola patient had tested negative.

Read complete story.

http://news.yahoo.com/mali-government-un-declare-country-ebola-free-221318115.html

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U.S.-built Ebola treatment centers in Liberia are nearly empty as outbreak fades


Workers at an Ebola treatment center relax Jan. 10, 2015 in Tubmanburg, Liberia. The facility was built by the U.S. military. (Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

WASHINGTON POST  by Kevin Sieff                                                          Jan. 19, 2015

UBMANBURG, Liberia — Near the hillside shelter where dozens of men and women died of Ebola, a row of green U.S. military tents sit atop a vast expanse of imported gravel. The generators hum; chlorinated water churns in brand-new containers; surveillance cameras send a live feed to a large-screen television.

There’s only one thing missing from this state-of-the-art Ebola treatment center: Ebola patients.

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Interview with Dr. David Nabarro, United Nations Special Envoy for Ebola

UNITED NATIONS NEWS CENTRE                                                               Jan.16, 2015

David Nabarro,Special Envoy on Ebola since August 2014, ...spoke with the UN News Centre in New York between his latest visit to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and a trip around Europe where he will visit the World Economic Forum and national capitals, seeking more resources to continue the fight against the outbreak. He described the reducing intensity of the outbreak, the shift in focus of responders and his growing confidence that the outbreak can be beaten. He also stressed the need for continued vigilance and more international support – in the form of people, materials and money – and looked forward to approval of a potential vaccine for the disease.

Excerpt:  " I’d like to start by describing the outbreak as it appears right now, and then I’d like to talk about the way in which the national Government and local communities are responding and the ways in which the international community is helping them.

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Ebola Death Toll Rises in West Africa While Americans' Interest Wanes

       

cbsnews.com - by Jessica Firger - January 8, 2015

Although it's largely dropped out of the headlines in this country, the Ebola outbreak continues to ravage West Africa. . . . Six out of 10 patients currently hospitalized with the virus will die, and a huge number of victims still aren't receiving medical care, which has allowed this public health crisis to continue to escalate at an alarming pace.

Yet many Americans may be under the impression that the Ebola crisis is winding down.

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CDC - Mapping for Ebola: A Collaborative Effort

                

cdc.gov - January 14, 2015

One of the difficulties faced by teams responding to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is identifying individuals and communities residing in remote areas. Existing maps of these regions either do not exist or are inadequate or outdated. This means that basic data like location of houses, buildings, villages, and roads are not easily accessible, and case finding and contact tracing can be extremely difficult.

To help aid the outbreak response effort, volunteers from around the world are using an open-source online mapping platform called OpenStreetMap (OSM) to create detailed maps and map data of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and parts of Mali.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says

         

A dead whale in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 2011. As container ships multiply, more whales are being harmed, a study said. CreditMarco De Swart/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean

nytimes.com - by Carl Zimmer - January 15, 2015

A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.

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International Experts, Led By UN, Kick Off Ebola Recovery Assessment in Sierra Leone

          

Daily life in Freetown, Sierra Leone, one of three West African countries most affected by the outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Photo: World Bank/Dominic Chavez

un.org

15 January 2015 – Spearheaded by the United Nations, a team of international experts has begun an Ebola Recovery Assessment (ERA) mission in Sierra Leone as part of an effort to partner with Governments to address the impact of the virus on affected countries. 

The ERA mission is made up of experts from the European Union, World Bank and the African Development Bank. They are expected to finish their work this weekend in Accra, Ghana after a one-day stop in Guinea tomorrow. 

The mission’s aim is to work with the Governments of the countries hardest hit by the virus –Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – to assess critical areas that will spearhead economic and social recovery in the post-Ebola era.

According to a statement released by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, David McLachlan-Karr, the ERA is anchored in national ownership.

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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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