Ebola Fight: Survivors’ Blood Doesn’t Help, But Malaria Drug Might

Since the latest Ebola outbreak began, researchers have renewed their search for an effective way to fight the deadly virus. Now, a new study finds that giving Ebola patients a drug that is currently used to treat malaria may lower their risk of dying from the virus by almost one-third. Meanwhile, a separate study finds that treating Ebola patients with blood plasma taken from Ebola survivors does not lower their risk of death.

Together, the findings show that when it comes to finding effective treatments for Ebola, there are still a lot of unknowns, and therefore, prevention and vaccine development remain key, experts say. Both findings are published online today (Jan. 6) in the New England Journal of Medicine.

[The result} translates to a 31 percent lower risk of death in the patients who took artesunate–amodiaquine, compared with those who took [artemether–lumefantrine].

The ultimate answer probably lies in good isolation techniques and an effective immunization.

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Ebola epidemic winding down

MONROVIA, Libera – Authorities in Liberia are preparing Thursday to discharge the last Ebola patient in the West African country.

The head of the Incidence Management System, Tolbert Nyenswah, said the recovered patient will be released from a Chinese-built Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, the capital. There were no other confirmed cases of Ebola in the country and as such, Liberia can then begin to count up to 42 days to be declared Ebola free in keeping with World Health Organization protocols and standards, Nyenswah said Wednesday.

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Ebola vaccine ready for trials

An Ebola vaccine being developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has been deemed safe enough to be trialled soon. Healthy individuals in West African countries, where the virus has rampaged, will be the first to participate.

In an announcement reported by the Associated Press, Marie-Paule Kieny, the assistant director general of Health Systems and Innovation at the World Health Organization, revealed that both the GSK vaccine and one licensed by Merck and NewLink, have “an acceptable safety profile.”

According to Kieny, who is helping coordinate the hunt for an Ebola vaccine, six-month-long trials will begin in West Africa and health workers could be among the first to receive it. Doctors, nurses and volunteers continue to put themselves in harm’s way everyday in affected areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, with WHO revealing this week that around 800 have been infected since the outbreak. More than 8,000 people have died from the disease in total, including 500 health workers, and more than 20,000 have been infected.

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How do we protect health care workers from Ebola?

Personal protective equipment (PPE), if properly donned and used, should be effective. The problem I see is in taking OFF the gear. It apparently only takes a small inoculum (just a few germs) in contact with skin to transmit the infection.

Here is the plan announced today by the CDC:

Embattled Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director, Dr. Tom Frieden, laid out a new game plan to counter further contamination of health care workers dealing with Ebola patients – including sending rapid response teams to any hospital where a new case is confirmed.

Frieden told reporters during a press conference Tuesday that the CDC had deployed a team of their most experienced staff to Dallas to work with state’s health department and the hospital where Nina Pham, 26, a Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, is being treated after testing positive for the disease.

Y’all be careful out there…

Going forward, Frieden said the CDC will provide Ebola response teams within hours of a confirmed case to any hospital in the United States.

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Oh my, here we go…

BREAKING–

FRISCO, Texas – A patient exhibiting symptoms of Ebola who claims to have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan showed up at a Care Now facility in Frisco Wednesday afternoon.

City officials confirmed a significant medical response at the clinic located in the 300 block of Main Street.

Paramedics are said to be in the process of transporting the patient, but it is unclear where.

It appears that everything worked per protocol. It is not time to panic yet.

Updates here.

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THIS is how you stop Ebola

While governments and nonprofits have been stymied in their efforts to stymie the spread of the Ebola virus, Firestone Tire & Rubber has apparently succeeded among its 80,000 Liberian employees and their families. When a wife of a Firestone employee showed up ill after caring for an Ebola victim, the staff of the evil capitalist corporation leaped into action.

Liberia Firestone Plantation