“ Perspective from The New England Journal of Medicine — Ebola — A Growing Threat?” There is currently no licensed prophylaxis or treatment for any ebolavirus or marburgvirus infection; therefore, treatment is merely supportive.2 Over the past decade, however, multiple countermeasure options have shown promising efficacy in macaque models of filoviruses, and some of the approaches have completed or are at least nearing phase 1 clinical trials in humans.4 The current front-runner for therapeutic intervention seems to be antibody treatment, which has been successful in macaques even when antibodies are administered more than 72 hours after infection. Treatment approaches involving modulatory RNA (i.e., small interfering RNAs or phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers) are following close behind, along with a promising synthetic drug-like small molecule, BCX4430.5 The most promising vaccine approaches are based on recombinant technologies, such as virus-like particles produced through plasmid transfection and replication-incompetent and -competent viral vectors.4 Among the latter, vesicular stomatitis virus vectors have shown efficacy within 24 to 48 hours after infection in rhesus macaques. In the absence of effective intervention strategies, diagnosis becomes a key element in our response to ebolavirus infection.2 Detection rests largely on molecular techniques utilizing multiple reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction assays that can be used at remote outbreak sites. Antigen detection may be performed in parallel or serve as a confirmatory test for immediate diagnosis, whereas assays for detection of antibodies (e.g., IgM and IgG) are secondary tests that are primarily important in surveillance. Molecular detection strongly depends on sequence conservation, and established assays may fail when applied to new variants, strains, or viruses. The latest outbreak of Zaire ebolavirus in West Africa again has shown the limited ability of our public health systems to respond to rare, highly virulent communicable diseases. The medical and public health sectors urgently need to improve education and vigilance. And rapid, reliable diagnostic procedures must be implemented in key regions within or closer to the areas where these viruses are endemic so that local public health systems do not have to rely on distant reference laboratories, which should play a more confirmatory role in the future. Moreover, to optimize diagnostic-response capabilities, it is essential that information be shared in real time, as it was during the pandemic of the severe acute respiratory syndrome and during recurrent outbreaks of influenza. Despite years of research on ebolaviruses and marburgviruses, it is still not possible to administer vaccines or treatments to the at-risk population or medical aid teams. If we are to practice cutting-edge medicine, rather than simply outbreak control, we need to advance leading approaches toward approval and licensing. This gap should close over the next several years — if we can continue making progress before Ebola (or a related virus) strikes again.
“PLoS Blogs (blog) What Killed The Aztecs? A Researcher Probes Role of 16th Century Megadrought PLoS Blogs (blog) A hundred years later, after a series of epidemics decimated the local population, perhaps as few as 1.2 million natives survived.”
“Wall Street Journal US Red Tape With Cruel Results for Orphans Wall Street Journal The mortality rate is much higher for orphans, who die of starvation, malaria, tuberculosis, smallpox, meningitis and other deadly infections.”
Early next week, WHO will convene a panel of medical ethicists to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Currently there is no registered medicine or vaccine against the virus, but there are several experimental options under development. The recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan’s Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used in the outbreak and, given the extremely limited amount of medicine available, if it is used, who should receive it.
“ CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - With hundreds of patients in Africa suffering the devastating effects of Ebola, health experts are scrambling to determine which drugs might offer the best experimental treatment,”
“Otago Daily Times Smallpox-like-disease a big deal Otago Daily Times Interviewed yesterday by a Daily Times reporter, Dr Champtaloup, district health officer, gave a reassuring statement as to the precautions being taken in Otago to prevent any...”
“NPR Last Person To Get Smallpox Dedicated His Life To Ending Polio NPR So far, the human race has eliminated just one disease in history: smallpox. But it's on the cusp of adding a second virus — polio — to that list.”
“Why polio hasn't been eradicated Washington Post Polio, like smallpox, can be completely eradicated from the entire world. It could have been eradicated decades ago but for religious objections to vaccination in Pakistan and Nigeria.”
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