Inhalable Vaccine Could Stop Further Ebola Outbreaks From Happening

US scientists have developed a new potentially inhalable vaccine against Ebola that could help lead to effective treatment. The aerosol vaccine is the subject of a study headed by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A series of tests run on rhesus monkeys proved the vaccine to be effective despite previous failed attempt at vaccines.

However, the aerosol vaccine’s success on rhesus monkeys is not necessarily indicative of its effectiveness in humans, as previously developed medications failed to prevent the disease. More>>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on Ebola and other infectious diseases. Learn more about Tulane’s role in the Ebola outbreak. 

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How to Fight the Next Epidemic

The Ebola epidemic, which has claimed 10,000 lives in West Africa, has served as a point of analysis of current public health and disease control systems: namely, their lack of presence. This has served to highlight the need for increased preparedness and protocol in the case of future epidemics which have the potential to be even more lethal. Ebola, Gates notes, requires physical contact for transmission as well as active symptoms. Drawing comparisons to the Spanish flu which killed approximately 30 million people in 1918, diseases that are either airborne or are contagious before the onset of symptoms are a great threat to our increasingly mobile society and require adequate systems in place to control an outbreak in the future. While conversations about Ebola have centered primarily on whether the WHO or the CDC responded effectively do not highlight the fact that there are very rudimentary and ill structured systems to address a crisis of this size. The Ebola crisis made clear that there is little protocol for essential functions of disease control in vulnerable regions such as volunteer deployment, transportation of patients, diagnostic procedures, and data collection.

Gates calls for increasing infrastructural capacity and encouraging the development of global warning symptoms for epidemics. Local health systems need to be adequately prepared and strengthened in order for these measures to be effective. In addition, there must be a  more efficient way to have medical professionals and experts on call, standard deployment measures, organized data collection measures, and emergency resources ready and accessible. More>>

Learn more about SPHTM’s efforts in the Ebola Outbreak.

 

 

Obama Calls for Ebola Vigilance in Withdrawing Troops

Obama announced the removal of almost all troops from the fight against Ebola in West Africa, while encouraged continued vigilance of the recent epidemic. In order to continue to mitigate the outbreak, civilian workers of government agencies, volunteers, and approximately 100 military personnel will remain on duty. The president thanked the service men and women for their efforts to contain the outbreak, and that the US will continue to work towards eradication of Ebola. He also recognized the dedication of volunteers who have continued invaluable work in West Africa despite threats to health and personal safety.

Evidence suggests that the spread of Ebola in West Africa –especially Liberia—has been slowing considerably. The epidemic, estimated to reach 1 million deaths, has claimed about 9,000. Recent reporting states there have been only a about a dozen in the past three weeks. More>>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on Ebola and infectious diseases. Learn more about Tulane SPHTM’s response to the Ebola outbreak. 

Global health officials declare the need for immediate, drastic action to combat Ebola

The worst Ebola epidemic in history has infected more than 3,069 individuals, claimed 1500 lives, and caused immeasurable panic and fear. With the virus spreading unabated throughout Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, top global health figures have assumed active roles in beseeching world leaders and medical organizations to provide urgent assistance in combating the epidemic.

Ebola virus infectious diseasesIn a recent conference, Doctors without Borders International President Joanne Liu declared that the “world is losing the battle to contain (the virus),” and she faulted world leaders for their failure to assist the West African governments struggling to manage the outbreaks. Similarly, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden has advocated for the urgent increase in large-scale containment efforts, as the “window of opportunity” to contain the virus is quickly closing.

According to these leaders, several issues have contributed to the expanse of the Ebola epidemic. According to Dr. Liu, fragmented health systems and scant resources have rendered West African health centers ill-equipped to handle the rising number of cases. In several areas of Liberia and Sierra Leone, residents have rioted over the poor living conditions in isolation units, high numbers of medical workers infected with the virus, and presence of infected bodies in town streets.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, has also called for urgent action, and outlined a six-month, $490 million plan that would require thousands of medical providers working on the ground in West Africa to halt the Ebola outbreak. The United States government has also contributed $24.9 million to Mapp Biopharmaceutical Company to fund the production and testing of ZMapp, the experimental treatment that successfully aided the recovery of two Ebola infected Americans. More >>

Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is a leader on interdisciplinary research concerning the Ebola outbreak. Follow our Ebola response efforts here.