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ebola outbreak

West Africa has seen the largest outbreak of Ebola virus disease on record. As the death toll increases and concerns are expressed over whether the virus could spread internationally the SMC has been providing journalists with information and expert comment.

expert reaction to case study looking at potential flare-up of Ebola infection a year after initial infection

Researchers publishing in Lancet Infectious Diseases present an outbreak report documenting the persistence of the Ebola virus after the end of widespread transmission in Liberia.  read more

expert reaction to two different studies reporting on the adaptation of the Ebola virus throughout the West African outbreak

Two papers published in the journal Cell have examined how the Ebola virus adapted during the outbreak in West Africa. read more

expert reaction to reports that Pauline Cafferkey, who previously recovered from Ebola, has been admitted to hospital for the third time

The British nurse, Pauline Cafferkey, who had previously recovered from Ebola after working in West Africa has been admitted to hospital for a third time. read more

expert reaction to report from the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee, ‘Science in emergencies: UK lessons from Ebola’

The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee has published a report followed its inquiry into lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak, which criticises delays at several points during the crisis. read more

expert reaction to announcement of the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and by extension the rest of West Africa

Following 42 days without a new case the World Health Organization has declared Liberia to be free of Ebola. The other two West African countries at the centre of the epidemic ,Guinea and Sierra Leone, were declared disease-free towards the end of last year. read more

Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, gives his views on a comprehensive new report into our resilience to pandemics in the wake of Ebola

Thursday 14 January could see the WHO declare Liberia free from Ebola virus transmission – marking the first time all of the three worst-affected West African countries are free from infection since the outbreak began. As the world continues to learn difficult lessons from the crisis and the failures that occurred during the response, a landmark report spells out what must be done to increase our resilience to such outbreaks in future. The report of the Commission on Creating a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future highlights infectious diseases as one of the biggest risks facing humankind and estimates the annual expected cost from potential pandemics at more than £40bn. It says £3bn a year must be spent to make the world safer against potential pandemics, and recommends several key reforms to the WHO and other health systems to help deliver this capability. The Director of the Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar, an infectious diseases expert who was on the International Oversight Group for the Commission, came to the SMC to give his take on the report and its recommendations. read more

evidence to select committee on science in emergencies: UK lessons from Ebola inquiry

In September 2015 the Science Media Centre submitted written evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on what lessons have been drawn from the Ebola outbreak last year concerning the use of scientific advice in the UK for similar disease outbreak emergencies in future. The SMC was also called to give oral evidence to the Committee.

expert reaction to updates from the Royal Free Hospital on the condition of Ebola patient Pauline Cafferkey

The Royal Free Hospital has provided updates to the condition of Pauline Cafferkey, the British Nurse who was readmitted to hospital following infection with Ebola virus in 2014, saying that she is recovering well after developing meningitis caused by Ebola. read more

Ebola virus persistence Q&A

The following Q&A was prepared by experts on Ebola and infectious diseases in response to the readmission to hospital of Pauline Cafferkey, the nurse who was infected with Ebola in 2014. read more

expert reaction to a study on the persistence of Ebola virus RNA in the semen of survivors, and accompanying report on sexual transmission of the Ebola virus

Researchers have published in the New England Journal of Medicine their work which reports that infective Ebola virus can be found in the semen of those who survived the disease up to nine months following initial infection. read more

expert reaction to reports that Ebola patient Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has worsened and that she is now critically ill at the Royal Free Hospital

The Royal Free Hospital has released a statement saying that Pauline Cafferkey, a British nurse who was infected with Ebola in 2014, is now critically ill after being readmitted to hospital last week following an “unusual late complication” from the original infection. read more

expert reaction to reports that former Ebola patient Pauline Cafferkey has been admitted to the Royal Free Hospital with ‘complications’ from Ebola virus

A nurse who contracted Ebola while in Sierra Leone as an aid worker in December 2014 has been readmitted to hospital in London following an “unusual late complication” from the original infection. read more

expert reaction to trial results of VSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine in Guinea

Writing in The Lancet journal, a research team has published the results of a trial of an Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Merck, reporting 100% efficacy. read more

expert reaction to UK Ebola patient leaving hospital, and the experimental drug MIL 77

A UK military healthcare worker has today been discharged from the Royal Free hospital and declared free of Ebola after being the first person in the world to be treated using the experimental drug MIL 77. read more

comments ahead of the one year anniversary of the confirmation of the Ebola outbreak by the WHO, on 23 March 2014

The first anniversary of the current Ebola outbreak is on the 23rd of March. read more

expert reaction to news that a UK military healthcare worker in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola

A British military healthcare worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone. It is being reported that they are receiving treatment but that no decision has yet been made on repatriation. read more

expert reaction to trial of potential Ebola therapeutic treatment (TKM-Ebola-Guinea) starting today in Sierra Leone

A phase II clinical trial for a treatment of Ebola has started in Sierra Leone, led by the University of Oxford. read more

expert reaction to case of post-exposure vaccination with the VSV-EBOV experimental Ebola vaccine, following needle-stick injury of US medic

A paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the effects of the experimental Ebola vaccine VSVΔG-ZEBOV, given to a health-care worker who experienced a needle stick while treating patients in Sierra Leone. The researchers report that the physician did not develop Ebola and showed Ebola-specific immune responses, but warn that questions about safety and efficacy of the vaccine cannot be answered from a single case. read more

expert reaction to announcement that efficacy trials of the VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine will begin in Guinea

The World Health Organisation has announced that a phase III trial of the VSV-EBOV vaccine will begin in Guinea on the 7th March, to test its efficacy against Ebola. read more

expert reaction to new rapid antigen test for Ebola

The World Health Organization has approved the use of a rapid blood test for the detection of Ebola. Though it is less accurate than current tests, it does not require electricity and so can be used more widely. read more