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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.

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 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

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