The vaccine being developed by GlaxoKlineSmith in conjunction with the NIH this week posted positive results in the New England Journal of Medicine. An increase in Ebola fighting anti-bodies was observed after treatment. Larger trials will begin in Liberia in January. Here is a round-up of the news:
- The Head of an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia has urged for more education and awareness regarding the lifespan of Ebola in semen. He claims that many Ebola survivors are practicing unsafe sex which places other individuals at risk. It is currently advised that unprotected sex should be avoided for three months to ensure the Ebola virus is no longer present in reproductive fluids.
- The Daily Mail UK reports that two children who had been vacationing in Africa are currently being tested for Ebola in a hospital in Newcastle. Officials say that it is unlikely that either of the children has the virus but every precaution must be taken.
- The Standard Times Press of Sierra Leone reports that President Koroma on Sunday cut the tape to open a US $300 000 Ebola Treatment Center in Makeni. The Center was funded by Addax Bioenergy as part of their Makeni Project development which aims to modernize the sugar cane industry in a sustainable way to help fuel green energy initiatives.
- Germany has received a new specialized jet to transport Ebola patients. The Airbus A340-300 is equipped with full isolation equipment and all other necessary safeguards. A press release called it “the world’s only evacuation facility…” Germany has contributed more than €100million to fighting the virus.
- After Morocco decided not to host the African Cup of Nations, Equatorial Guinea, who co-hosted the event in 2012, has stepped in. The nation’s officials have asked for calm surrounding Ebola concerns and said that every precaution will be taken to ensure health and safety.
A woman who collapsed and died in a New York City salon has tested negative for Ebola. She had originally traveled from Guinea three weeks ago and was being monitored for symptoms of the virus. Eyewitness’s said she was bleeding from her mouth while others said it appeared to be a heart attack. Tests were run as an exercise of caution. Here is a summary of the news:
- The Queen of England earlier this week spoke about the danger of the media focusing too much on the fight against Ebola. She raised concerns that excessive attention focused on the hemorrhagic fever would detract from other, more widespread diseases. Malaria leads to the death of more people in one week than the entire known death toll of Ebola during 2014.
- The Daily Mail reports that groups traveling to Liberia wanting to test homeopathic remedies have accused the World Health Organization of not allowing Ebola to be cured with their treatments, which includes Rattlesnake venom, after they were denied access to patients. Critics of their treatments have been described as ‘armchair intellectuals’. The online publication also lists Prince Charles as a supporter of homeopathy but does not indicate his opinion of the effectiveness of the practice regarding the Ebola virus.
- The Liberian Observer reports that Turkey has donated 136 boxes of medical and hygiene supplies to the nation for the fight against Ebola. Most Ebola Treatment Units in and around the capital Monrovia have seen a decline in the amount of patients seeking treatment indicating that progress has been made.
- Japan Today reports that Fujifilm Holdings Corp’s pharmaceutical division Toyama Chemical Co. has announced their expectation that Avigan 200mg tablets will be approved for the treatment of Ebola by the end of the year if current clinical trials in Guinea are successful. The tablet has been administered to patients in France, Germany, Spain and Norway with all patients recovering. It is unclear which concomitant treatments the patients received.
Yesterday the Nurse, Kaci Hickox, who fought against a ‘mandatory’ Ebola quarantine, ended her incubation period which is currently believed to be a maximum of 21 days. Here is a round-up of the day’s news:
- The Associated Press reports that a Nurse has died from Ebola in Mali. She caught the disease after treating another man who had come from Guinea. The man passed away on Monday and tests later confirmed that he had the virus. The two cases are unrelated to the first case which was confirmed when a young two year old from Guinea tested positive after contracting the virus from her late father. The young girl passed shortly after diagnosis. The contacts of the girl are outside of the incubation period as of yesterday.
- Dr. Craig Spencer said at a press conference yesterday that he was proud to have volunteered in West Africa and that the children in the region who battled against the virus were the true heroes. Spencer was greeted with applause at the conference organized outside Bellevue Hospital to celebrate his Ebola-free status.
- The family of the Liberian National who became the index patient for Ebola in the United States has reached a settlement with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after arguing that the facility failed to treat Thomas Eric Duncan to the best of their ability.
- A second team of Doctors, Nurses and other experts have been dispatched to Liberia by the African Union. This is expected to bring the number of AU personnel in the nation to 70.
- A delegation of European Union Officials have arrived in Sierra Leone for a two day meeting on how to continue and better support the fight against the Ebola virus. The multidisciplinary delegation is expected to conclude in favor of increased cooperation on all fronts.
- An estimated 18000 Nurses yesterday protested in Northern California about the lack of training regarding the treatment of Ebola. The protest has been described as necessary by some and a convenient excuse by others.
The World Health Organization in conjunction with its partners and the Government of Senegal has begun an awareness campaign via text message to ensure that the nation remains Ebola free. Here is an update on the day’s news:
- The Liberian Observer reports that the Senator of Bong County, Jewel Howard Taylor, has proposed the extension of Liberia’s state of emergency which was declared on the 6th of August 2014 by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in response to the Ebola outbreak. The current state of emergency is scheduled to expire on the 12th of November 2014. Critics have claimed that calls for extensions are merely an attempt to further delay the upcoming Senatorial Elections which have been proposed to take place on the 16th of December 2014.
- Guinéenews reports that a new treatment center is under construction in Coyah which is located 55km from the capital. The center is being built with the help of the United Nations and its affiliates.
- Media and Officials in West Africa have since the beginning of the outbreak warned about con-artists claiming to be scientists or healers attempting to sell false Ebola treatments and cures. The latest substance being shopped around is a product called ‘Miracle Mineral Supplement’ also known as ‘Master Mineral Supplement’ or ‘MMS’. The solution contains 28% Sodium Chlorite which is the same ingredient used in bleach but at a much higher concentration. The substance has been presented as beneficial for a variety of other ailments and diseases including HIV. Many health organizations have warned against the substance which can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting among more serious side-effects like renal failure and have also stated that MMS as a product serves no medical purpose. Chlorine dioxide, which is generated from Sodium Chlorite is used for the purification of water but at much lower concentrations. Some have also suggested that an ALS drug under development was merely a Sodium Chlorite formulation but trials have not proven this to be true. In most countries it is illegal to market, provide or encourage the use of any unapproved substance as a medicine which includes MMS.
President of the United States, Barack Obama, will meet today with advisors for an update on the response to the Ebola outbreak. Here is an update of the day’s news:
- Reuters reports that a teacher at a Catholic School in Louisville, Kentucky (USA) has resigned after parents expressed concern about Ebola. The teacher, Susan Sherman, who is also a registered nurse, had recently traveled to Kenya. Upon her return parents and the school board asked that she take paid leave for 21 days to be safe. She instead resigned. Kenya, which is in East Africa, has not yet been affected by the West African Outbreak.
- Director-general of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan says that pharmaceutical companies have turned their back on people who are unable to pay. She elaborated that the expectation of profit was one of the main reasons that a vaccine for Ebola had not yet been developed and also said that the World Health Organization has been raising this issue for over two decades. Two vaccines are currently being trialed and human trials are expected to start in 2015 pending the outcomes.
- French Minister of Social Affairs and Health Marisol Touraine says that the United Nations worker who was repatriated to the nation is stable and receiving treatment and Begin military hospital in Paris. The Minister also said that it would be possible to administer experimental drugs if necessary but did not elaborate.
- In a press conference in Seoul the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called on Korea to send more health care workers to West Africa to aid in the fight against Ebola. Kim extended the call for all Asian countries with capacity to contribute.
- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has said that the African Cup of Nations 2015 in Morocco will continue despite calls for the tournament to be postponed. A further meeting will be held in Cairo on the 11th of November 2014 to discuss logistics.
- Xinhua News reports that Chinese manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) are experiencing a massive spike in demand. China currently holds a 50% market share in the production of medical protective gear.
- On the heels of President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s call for all stakeholders to play a more central role in the country’s economic recovery, the Central Bank has reported growth in the nation’s public debt to US $658million. Economists are concerned about future debt creation related to the fight against the Ebola virus.