Ebola Strikes West Africa Again: Key Questions and Lessons from the Past

Global Biodefense  February 18, 2021 The last outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that occurred between 2014 and 2015 and affected Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, was the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, which began in Guinea and in which more than 11,300 people died including over 500 health workers. But countries in the West African region are in a very different position seven years on. Liberia and Sierra Leone have already mobilised and activated their national response and preparedness plans. Countries in the region also have the experience of the past, experienced workforce, laboratory systems are more developed, regional organisations […]

Targeting the shell of the Ebola virus

Science Daily  October 20, 2020 As the world grapples with COVID-19, the Ebola virus is again raging. Researchers at the University of Delaware are using supercomputers to simulate the inner workings of Ebola, observing the way molecules move, atom by atom, to carry out their functions. In the team’s latest work, they reveal structural features of the virus’s coiled protein shell that may be promising therapeutic targets, more easily destabilized, and knocked out by an antiviral treatment. They found that single-stranded viral RNA (ssRNA) is essential for maintaining structural integrity of the nucleocapsid. Other molecular determinants observed to stabilize the nucleocapsid […]

The Big 3 Infectious Diseases Besides COVID-19 Scientists Are Trying to Find a Vaccine For

Global Biodefense  October 5, 2020 Researchers in Australia regard malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS as the “big three” infectious diseases. Together they are responsible for about 2.7 million deaths a year around the world. Although anti-malarial drugs are routinely used to treat and prevent malaria infection, the emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is a major cause of death and a serious public health concern. Since the discovery of HIV in the 1980s, the disease has caused 33 million deaths. Some 38 million people have HIV/AIDS worldwide. There is currently no cure or protective vaccine. The current pandemic highlights the need for […]

New algorithm signals a possible disease resurgence

Medical Express  September 16, 2020 Researchers at the University of Georgia used computer simulations to train a supervised learning algorithm to detect the dynamical footprints of (re-)emergence present in epidemiological data. They challenged their algorithm to forecast the slowly manifesting, spatially replicated reemergence of mumps in England in the mid-2000s and pertussis post-1980 in the United States. Their method successfully anticipated mumps reemergence 4 years in advance, during which time mitigation efforts could have been implemented. From 1980 onwards, the model identified resurgent states with increasing accuracy, leading to reliable classification starting in 1992. They successfully applied the detection algorithm […]

Ending the Cycle of Crisis and Complacency in U.S. Global Health Security

CSIS  November 2019 According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report there is recognition that increasing levels of global disorder and conflict across the world are resulting in destruction of public health infrastructure and capacity, reduced access to critical services for vulnerable populations, and heightened risk of sudden outbreaks. These health threats undermine the economic and political security of nations. While formidable obstacles remain, experts are convinced there is a ripeness to health security, an opportunity to press for strengthening America’s policy approaches in a way that can drive forward overall U.S. global health engagement, bring about new […]