l. NY Times reports that the UN has determined that 500,000 people in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are now ‘food insecure’ as an indirect result of the EBOV epidemic. By March, 2015, the projection is for 1 million West Africans to be ‘food insecure’.
2. ABC News reports that the 11th Sierra Leone physician has died of EBOV. The patient died before an experimental drug could be given to him. Only 1 Sierra Leone physician has survived EBOV during this epidemic.
3. UN New Centre reports that HCW in West Africa will receive ‘hazard pay’ for their care of EBOV patients. The pay will be in the form of electronic check deposits for most of the HCW, instead of cash, which was the former method. All sorts of issues are solved by electronic deposits in these very poor countries. See the UN report at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49624#.VJNvRHI3N9B
4. San Francisco Chronicle reports that a warehouse at Conakry Airport in Guinea which stored EBOV supplies has been destroyed by fire. Hopefully, this was an accidental fire.
5. Emerging Microbes and Infection has published an article by Kouznetsova, et. al. from NIH and Mt. Sinai and Canada reporting that 53 drugs will block EBOV virus like particles (VLP) from entering cells. The drugs include: chemotherapeutic drugs, malarial drugs, bronchodilators, drugs for serious mental illnesses. See the report at: http://www.nature.com/emi/journal/v3/n12/full/emi201488a.html. The authors used a well based assay to a VLP with attached EBOV glycoprotein and VP40 to test these drugs. Tables 1 and 2 in the article show all 53 drugs which inhibited EBOV entry into cells. The neat thing about the authors’ assay technique is that it can be performed in a BSL-2 lab; no BSL-4 lab is required.
6. Journal of Clinical Microbiology has published a mini-review of EBOV by Eileen Burd at Emory University where she is Director of the Microbiology Laboratory. The mini-review focuses on lab tests for EBOV, many of which are used on emergency use authorization from the FDA. Several new PCR tests have been made recently available to clinicians. Dr. Burd details all of these new PCR tests and includes references and vendors in her article. See her mini-review at: http://jcm.asm.org/content/53/1/4.full?sid=4be54f22-3e66-4108-8139-512733797dcd
6. Dr. Burd writes that EBOV virus particles can be identified by electron microscopy in cell culture 3 days after EBOV inoculation. But cell cultures of EBOV are very dangerous to lab workers and accidents can occur so RT-PCR testing is the safest diagnostic test. RT-PCR testing is positive 1-2 days prior to antigen capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
7. The Lancet has a World Report by Shuchman re: the strike by the junior doctors in Liberia. She reports that the 12 bed EBOV hospital in Kerry Town built and staffed by the U.K. accepts only HCW with EBOV who work at U.K.-funded hospitals, not government hospitals. Most doctors in Liberia work at government hospitals and thus are not eligible for EBOV treatment at the U.K. EBOV hospital. This is not the policy at the U.S. built 25 bed EBOV hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. If any HCW is diagnosed with EBOV, he/she is eligible for admission to the Monrovia EBOV hospital. Liberian and U.K. officials are working toward a resolution of the situation. See the World Report at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673614623886/fulltext
8. American Society of Microbiology has published an important Genome Announcement today by Hoenen, et. al. from NIH, Canada, and Germany. These authors have open-sourced the complete genomes of 3 EBOV (Zaire) isolates from Guinea in 2014. The authors have submitted the 3 complete genomes to GenBank. Note that this is the first time that the genomic ‘ends’ have been experimentally determined for EBOV. See the article at: http://genomea.asm.org/content/2/6/e01331-14.full?sid=5a270865-6438-4765-9219-b8e878bbe40b