Lots of ground to cover as we’ve been under the weather, so we begin on the lighter side with a report from AJ+:
An Anti-Love Song To Ebola
A collective of all-star African singers, including Amadou and Mariam, wrote an awareness song about Ebola. Many artists come from counties with the virus like Guinea, Senegal and now Mali, which just confirmed its second Ebola death. The song encourages listeners to take Ebola seriously and to trust doctors: an important message for communities that are skeptical of western medicine and don’t believe in the disease. The crew includes Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kora, Mory Kante, Sia Tolno, Barbara Kanam and rappers Didier Awadi, Marcus and Mokobe.
Next, via the Guardian, America’s newest Ebola case is faring badly:
Ebola doctor at Nebraska hospital, ‘critically ill’ and sicker than other US patients
- Martin Salia, from Sierra Leone, is a permanent US resident
- Hospital spokesman: doctor may receive experimental therapy
A surgeon who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone is in critical condition and possibly sicker than any patient to arrive in the US from the disease-ravaged region of west Africa, a spokesman from the Nebraska hospital where he is being treated said on Saturday.
Dr Martin Salia, a permanent US resident, arrived in Omaha on Saturday afternoon, having left Freetown on Friday by air ambulance. He was immediately transported to Nebraska medical center, where he will undergo treatment. An update on his condition was expected later on Saturday evening, spokesman Taylor Wilson told the Guardian.
“He is critically ill, a good deal sicker than our previous patients, and perhaps sicker than any patient that has been transported from west Africa,” Wilson said earlier.
The Hill confronts an enigma:
CDC still mystified by Ebola infections in Dallas
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still unsure how two nurses in Dallas contracted Ebola from their patient, according to early findings from the agency’s investigation.
CDC officials interviewed nearly 150 healthcare workers in Dallas while trying to learn how the disease spread from the first patient, Thomas Eric Duncan.
The investigation was ordered by President Obama about one month ago after CDC said it did not know how two of Duncan’s nurses became infected while wearing government-approved protective gear. Both nurses had no “reported exposures” in their gear.
The report, which was released Friday, provides little new information about the cases.
From Reuters, a mixed report:
Mali rushes to contain Ebola outbreak, Liberia signals progress
Mali is rushing to impose tougher measures to contain the spread of Ebola after recording a new case of the disease in the West African nation’s capital, health officials said on Thursday.
The world’s worst epidemic of the haemorrhagic fever on record has killed at least 5,160 people since it erupted in March in West Africa, a region dogged by poverty and poor healthcare. It has ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and spurred a global watch for its spread.
Liberia, the country hardest hit by the outbreak, announced it would not renew a state of emergency, highlighting at least some recent progress in neutralising the virus there.
Numbers from StarAfrica:
Mali: At least 5 dead, 256 quarantined in second Ebola wave
At least five people have died from Ebola in Mali with one health professional currently being treated and 356 people under observation, according to the latest assessment report of the situation issued Friday by the Malian Health and Public Hygiene minister. Three of deaths are related to contact with 66-year-old Guinean Ebola-affected who succumbed to the deadly virus late October in Bamako-based clinic Pasteur where he had been admitted for kidney insufficiency.
Prior to that a two-year-old girl, the first Ebola confirmed case in Mali died in the Kayes region, where she had been taken from Guinea by her grandmother for treatment.
Those currently isolated include 22 United Nations peacekeepers suspected of getting in touch with the Guinean patient at the Clinic Pasteur.
The latest numbers, via the World Health Organization:
From AllAfrica, about damn time:
U.S. Proposes Major Debt Relief for Ebola-Hit Countries
The United States proposed Tuesday that the international community write off 100 million dollars in debt owed by West African countries hit hardest by the current Ebola outbreak. The money would be re-invested in health and other public programming.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will be detailing the proposal later this week to a summit of finance ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) industrialised countries. If the idea gains traction among G20 states, that support should be enough to approve the measure through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where the United States is the largest voting member.
“The plan is for that money to be re-invested in social infrastructure, including hospitals and schools … to deal with the short-term problem of Ebola but also the long-term failure of the health systems that allowed for this outbreak.” — Jubilee USA’s executive director Eric LeCompte.
From StarAfrica, a plea to high places:
G20 leaders petitioned over Ebola crisis
Several international NGOs and charity organizations have issued a joint petition calling on world leaders at the G20 summit in Australia to act immediately to mobilize a robust intervention and roll back the spread of the Ebola epidemic.Friday’s petition from Amnesty International, Oxfam International, Plan International, Save the Children and WaterAid said the G20 must ensure that all the personnel, equipment and funding required to halt the outbreak are made available without any discrimination.
The five organizations have been active in efforts to rein in the epidemic in the three worst affected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia where the outbreak has killed over 5000 people since March.
The petition has been signed by 165,490 people around the world to demonstrate solidarity with communities affected by the Ebola outbreak while warning G20 leaders that the window to stop the outbreak from spiralling out of control is closing fast.
Jiji Press covers subsequent lip service:
G-20 Leaders Resolved to Contain Ebola Crisis
The Group of 20 world leaders issued a joint statement on Saturday expressing their determination to contain the Ebola crisis in West Africa as they began a two-day gathering here the same day.
The G-20 members, including Japan and the United States, are “committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak and address its medium-term economic and humanitarian costs,” the leaders said in the statement.
Noting that they are “deeply concerned” about the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the leaders applauded the contributions from nations worldwide and such organizations as the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
A pledge, via the Guardian:
IMF to provide $300m in extra funding to help fight Ebola
- G20 summit reaffirms commitment to fighting crisis in west Africa as IMF says Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia will receive help in form of loans, debt relief and grants
The G20 has welcomed a commitment from the IMF to provide $300m (£190m) in extra funding to help fight Ebola in the three worst-affected west African countries.
The IMF money for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia will come through “a combination of concessional loans, debt relief, and grants”, according to a statement issued by the world leaders’ summit, being held in Brisbane.
The G20 also claimed to be “committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak”, while pointedly urging “governments that have yet to do so to join in providing financial contributions, appropriately qualified and trained medical teams and personnel, medical and protective equipment, and medicines and treatments”.
Another pledge, via the Liberia News Agency:
West Africa: EU Commits Support to Eradicating Ebola in the Region – Pledges 600 M
- Monrovia — Euros To Ebola Fight in West Africa
The European Union has pledged an initial €600 million to scale-up to about €1 billion by the end of this year its assistance to contain the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
This was disclosed Thursday by the EU Director of Humanitarian and Civil Protection Operations (DG ECHO), Jean-Louis DE Brower who is heading a delegation dispatched to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to get from the governments and partners an update on the Ebola outbreak. The EU delegation also informed governments of the affected countries and the global community on building upon the interventions already in place.
The delegation made the disclosure Thursday during discussions held with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia.
From the McClatchy Washington Bureau, not-so-innocent bystanders:
As Ebola fight grows, some countries are noticeably absent
One international aid group, Oxfam, this week launched a name-and-shame campaign that calls out powerful nations that haven’t contributed to the efforts.
Shannon Scribner, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy manager, named Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as nations that hadn’t contributed. Other countries that have donated but “could do more,” Scribner said, include France, Italy, India, Japan, Russia and Brazil.
“It’s really unacceptable,” Scribner said Wednesday on a media conference call arranged by InterAction, an umbrella group for humanitarian nonprofits. “A lot of pledges, but that doesn’t help people on the ground unless it turns into commitments.”
“We cannot afford to let up, and we cannot afford to do this alone,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said Thursday at a congressional hearing on the Ebola response. “Containment will fail in the absence of a robust international effort. Other donors and the U.N. need to step up, just as we’re stepping up.”
From the Guardian, self-criticism:
Ebola: Médecins Sans Frontières critical of its own delays
- Aid group’s vaccine appeal came too late and its reliance on past strategies was inadequate, says internal thinktank
The emergency aid group’s response to the epidemic, which has so far killed more than 5,000 people, has been praised by governments and the World Health Organisation. While western donors dithered and other aid groups pulled out, MSF deployed hundreds to the Ebola “hot zones” and treated more than 3,000 patients.
But the group relied too much on strategies it developed during smaller previous Ebola outbreaks, leading it to make mistakes as this year’s epidemic pushed it to its limits, said Jean-Hervé Bradol, a member of MSF’s internal thinktank.
“Our response was too orientated toward the management of previous outbreaks,” Bradol, of the Paris-based Centre For Reflection on Humanitarian Action, told Reuters, adding that MSF’s public appeal for vaccine development in September came months too late.
On to the pharmaceutical front, first with the Associated Press:
WHO sees few promising Ebola drugs in pipeline
A top official with the U.N. health agency says few experimental therapies are currently under development that could effectively treat Ebola.
Dr. Martin Friede, who is in charge of the World Health Organization’s work toward finding an Ebola drug, says scientists have proposed lots of experimental interventions but none has been thoroughly evaluated yet.
“We don’t have a lot of drugs in our pipeline that look promising,” said Friede, program leader for WHO’s technology transfer initiative. His comments follow a WHO-sponsored meeting of medical experts this week on how to test potential Ebola drugs in Africa.
Friede told reporters Friday in Geneva that “people are using all kinds of therapies” for the deadly virus without evidence they’re effective or safe.
From Nikkei Asian Review, thar’s gold in them thar ills:
Fujifilm has a lot riding on a flu drug it says is effective against Ebola
A Fujifilm Holdings influenza drug appears to be effective in fighting Ebola, the virus that has been wreaking havoc in West Africa and freaking out people all over the world.
The Japanese company best known for its photographic film diversified into the medical business six years ago.
Toyama Chemical, now a Fujifilm group company, is rushing to deliver additional shipments of Avigan, also known as favipiravir. It has a stockpile of the drug for 20,000 Ebola patients and aims to produce an amount sufficient for 300,000 people within this month.
Digital cameras began disrupting the photographic film business, and Fujifilm realized it had to diversify into new fields. It set its sights on the drug business even though it knew it could not compete with major pharmaceuticals by copying their business models. Fujifilm decided to focus on three illnesses — cancer, dementia and infectious diseases — and began searching for novel treatments.
Testing profitably, via CBC News:
Ebola vaccine clinical trial in Halifax overwhelmed with volunteers
Study looking for healthy people between the ages of 18 and 65 and will pay over $1,100
A clinical trial for Canada’s Ebola vaccine will take place in Halifax and there is no shortage of people wanting to participate.
The federal government announced Friday the experimental vaccine will be tested on a small group of people to assess its safety, determine the appropriate dosage and identify side effects.
The IWK Health Centre in Halifax was looking for 40 generally healthy people between the ages of 18 and 65, the hospital told CBC News.
And from the London Daily Mail, snake
oil venom salesmen:
EXCLUSIVE: Homeopaths sent to deadly Ebola hotspot to treat victims with ARSENIC and SNAKE VENOM
- Team spent days in remote Liberian hospital to prove that remedies work
- They planned to treat victims with ‘rattlesnake venom’ and ‘Spanish Fly’
- Boasted of the ‘unique opportunity’ presented by deadly Ebola outbreak
- Claimed they would treat all European victims after proving success
Ebola victims in one of the hardest-hit parts of Liberia have been treated by homeopaths who are determined to prove that arsenic, rattlesnake venom and the aphrodisiac Spanish Fly can cure Ebola.
The homeopaths arrived in Liberia to use the deadly outbreak to prove their controversial theories and have already spent two weeks in the country with patients in a hospital in Ganta, in the north of the country near to the epicentre of the outbreak.
In letters and messages seen by Mail Online they revealed that the aim of their mission was to prove that homeopathy could treat Ebola.
Asian preparations from NHK WORLD:
Nurses participate in Ebola training workshop
Nurses in Japan have learned what to do if a patient suspected of being affected with Ebola visits a hospital.
No Ebola case has been confirmed in Japan, but there have been people who received health checks upon their arrival at Japanese airports from West Africa.
A training workshop was held in Tokyo on Friday. About 50 nurses and other medical workers took part. An infectious disease specialist explained what should be done if the hospital received a patient who has visited West Africa.
After the jump, on to Africa with the downside of survival and a border reopening, Liberia next and a warning from the UN, two new disease epicenters, negative economic consequences of the state of emergency and a official plea to continue emergency measures despite their official end, Chinese helpers arrive, a politician proposes a Liberian version of FEMA, and a European Union promise to rebuild the country’s shattered healthcare system thence to Sierra Leone and schools on the air, two superb video reports from a British journalist, and a local journalist is freed after he was jailed for criticizing the government’s handling of the crisis, an official end declared to the Democratic Republic of the Congo outbreak, and the curious case of con man hired to clean up after New York’s only Ebola case. . . Continue reading