l. President Obama visited NIH today to check on progress here and abroad against EBOV. Director Collins issued a press release following the visit. The release describes the successful Phase 1 vaccine trials with GSK and also describes how ZMapp works against EBOV. The photographic orientation of the Scripps diagram of EBOV-ZMapp antibodies is suboptimal; the two antibodies at the base of the EBOV stalks are hard to visualize. These two antibodies neutralize EBOV infectivity. See the Collins release at: http://directorsblog.nih.gov/2014/12/02/presidents-visit-to-nih-highlights-research-on-ebola/ The President is still waiting on Congress to approve his $6.2 billion request for fighting EBOV in West Africa and the U.S.
2. NY Times today has an article on Pardis Sabeti’s viral sequencing lab at The Broad Institute. Her lab works 24/7 all year day sequencing serum samples from West Africa; the lab is looking for mutations over time in EBOV as well as looking for protective mutations against EBOV in subpopulations in West Africa. Note that one third of Nigerians have a mutated gene in their genomes called LARGE which provides protection against Lassa Fever. Some subpopulation in West Africa should have a mutated gene protecting its members from EBOV. See this article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/science/factory-direct-virus-analysis.html?ref=health&_r=0.
3. CDC has designated 35 hospitals in the U.S. as Ebola Treatment Centers. These hospitals are regionally distributed across the U.S. so that 80% of travelers returning from EBOV-affected countries live within 200 miles of such a hospital. A CDC Ebola Rapid Response Team has inspected all these hospitals’ EBOV facilities including handling of EBOV patient waste. See which 35 hospitals are Ebola Treatment Centers at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/12/20141202b.html?utm_campaign=12214_hhs_news_ebola&utm_medium=email&utm_source=hhs_news_releases&utm_content=12214_hhs_news_ebola_titlelink
4. WHO reports that 50 physicians have been trained and deployed to EBOV treatment centers in Guinea; 100 HCW have been trained for ‘hot zone’ work in EBOV treatment centers in Liberia; 4115 HCW have been trained for EBOV treatment centers in Sierra Leone. Note that only 40% of EBOV patients are isolated in Sierra Leone, and the U.N. reports an EBOV bed shortage in Sierra Leone.
5. Time Magazine December 1-8 in its ’25 Best Inventions for 2014′ reports on the Hemopurifier by Aethlon Medical. This device is a cartridge with a high-mannose structure that binds to viruses and soluble glycoprotein (GP) from viruses in the bloodstream. The cartridge is attached to renal dialysis machines. In vitro the Hemopurifier removes 50% of EBOV in one hour. The Hemopurifier is now undergoing tests in end-stage renal disease patients to see how efficiently the device removes Hepatitis C viral particles. See a statement on the status of the Hemopurifier for EBOV treatment at: http://globalbiodefense.com/2014/08/07/aethlon-clarifies-status-hemopurifier-ebola-treatment/
6. The Lancet has correspondence today related to ‘digital surveillance’ of EBOV. A letter by Milinovich, et. al. reports on the use of Google Trends to follow searches for ‘ebola’ in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia between January-end of October, 2014. This digital surveillance of searches correlated with the epidemic curves of EBOV in all three countries. See the letter at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(14)70356-0/fulltextetter. Another letter by O’Donovan, et. al. reports on a project by IBM and Air-Tel, the largest mobile phone provider in Sierra Leone, that allowed free telephone calls to the government if the subject was EBOV. 40% of the Sierra Leone population has mobile phones, most within the cities. The Red Cross sent 2 million EBOV precaution messages to mobile phone owners/renters using this project. See the article at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(14)70357-2/fulltext
7. From Tehran University, Saeidnia, et. al. have written a review of EBOV disease. The diagrams showing cell signaling pathways and sites and actions of experimental drugs are especially well-done. See the review at: http://www.darujps.com/content/22/1/70