Tag Archives: Ebola

New Ebola vaccine 100% successful in trial

Using a different experimental approach aimed not only to test a new vaccine but also to stem an Ebola outbreak, scientists have found the new vaccine is 100% successful in providing exposed individuals protection from the virus.

Rather than create a complicated time-consuming trial with a control group getting a placebo — which also allows the epidemic to rage undisturbed — they focused on a different approach:

The Guinea trial — called ‘Ebola, ça suffit’ in French (‘Ebola, that’s enough’) — tested a ring vaccination design, a strategy that was borrowed from successful smallpox eradication efforts in the 1970s. After one patient contracts the disease, their close contacts are vaccinated in the hope of stemming the onward spread of the virus.

The Guinea trial included two arms: one in which adults who had been in contact with someone infected with Ebola and their subsequent contacts were vaccinated shortly after the original patient developed Ebola, and a second in which contacts instead received the vaccine three weeks later. The trial tested a vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV, which is composed of an attenuated livestock virus engineered to produce an Ebola protein. The vaccine was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and then licensed to the drug companies NewLink Genetics and Merck.

Of the 2,014 people who received the vaccine immediately as part of the first arm, none developed Ebola ten days after getting the vaccine. The 10-day window allows the vaccine to summon an immune response and accounts for any pre-existing Ebola infection. (A few people in the immediate vaccination group, however, did develop the disease between 1 and 10 days after vaccination.) That compares with 16 infections among the 2,380 people in the second arm.

The findings mean that the vaccine provided 100% protection from the virus.

The results bring hope that Ebola is now a defeated virus.

New ebola drug appears somewhat effective

Drug trails in Guinea of a new ebola drug suggest that it might have some positive effect on mortality.

A researcher who had seen the data and asked not to be identified told Science that favipiravir did not help all of the patients treated with it at two trial sites in Guinea. In a subset of trial participants who had low levels of Ebola virus in the blood, however, the mortality was just 15%. In similar patients who entered the centers earlier and did not receive favipiravir, mortality was 30%.

The trials with this drug are being conducted without a control group, which makes it harder to pin down the cause of these results. The article also describes several other drugs being readied for testing, some of which are expected to be more effective.

The trials, however, are faced with two issues. First, the easing of the epidemic is making it more difficult to do the studies. And second,

So far, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where Ebola is still infecting dozens of people a week, have refused invitations to join the study. Their main stumbling block is trial design. ZMapp will be the first Ebola treatment that will be tested against a placebo control. “I think that’s the only way to tell whether these drugs are safe and effective,” Lane says. The governments of Guinea and Sierra Leone, as well as Doctors Without Borders, which runs Ebola centers in those countries, have for ethical reasons been reluctant to participate in treatment trials that use a placebo.

The moral dilemma of doing drug tests where some patients get a placebo has always been a problem for medical research. It is therefore not surprising to see it here as well.

Possible ebola exposure at CDC

Government marches on! As many as a dozen scientists might have been mistakenly exposed to ebola at an Atlanta CDC lab.

The potential exposure took place Monday when scientists conducting research on the virus at a high-security lab mistakenly put a sample containing the potentially infectious virus in a place where it was transferred for processing to another CDC lab, also in Atlanta on the CDC campus.

The CDC statement is remarkably uninformative. From what little they say, it appears as if the sample was left out uncovered in the lab as people came in and out. It also suggests that this unsecured sample was also transferred improperly to another lab.

No need to worry however. Just like its previous investigation of errors in the handling of anthrax, CDC officials are on the case, doing investigations and writing press releases, just so us ordinary citizens won’t get worried and cut their funds.

Mathematical models badly overstate ebola numbers

The uncertainty of science: New evidence suggests that the on-going ebola epidemic in Africa is beginning to ease, contrary to the predictions made by computer models.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected at least 13,567 people and killed 4,951, according to figures released on 31 October by the World Health Organization (WHO). Now, in a rare encouraging sign, the number of new cases in Liberia seems to be flattening after months of exponential growth. Scientists say it is too soon to declare that the disease is in retreat: case data are often unreliable, and Ebola can be quick to resurge. But it is clear that mathematical models have failed to accurately project the outbreak’s course. [emphasis mine]

The creators of these mathematical models should switch fields and go into climate change modeling. At least in that field the journal Nature would never trumpet the failure of their models to work. In climate science, the major journals do whatever they can, for political reasons, to hide these failures.

“Medical science doesn’t support official rhetoric on ebola.”

The essay is long, but incredibly detailed, worth reading, and illustrates nicely how little politicians and bureaucrats understand the uncertainty of science and knowledge. Their focus is power and control, and thus they often will say anything that they think will help them maintain that power and control, even if it is an outright lie or misstatement.

In the case of ebola, the misstatements and lies have been frequent, bald-faced, and have done nothing to help these politicians and bureaucrats maintain power and control. If anything, their willingness to say things that were simply not true or not yet known has served to undermine their effectiveness while fueling the public’s increasing distrust and disbelief in anything they say.

That Barack Obama is lying or overstating his flawed knowledge on this subject does not surprise me. That some scientists at the CDC are doing so is a much greater concern.

CDC deletes ebola info from website

Incompetence: One day after posting information that said ebola could be spread by a sneeze, the Centers for Disease Control has deleted that information from its webpage.

It could be the deleted webpage was wrong, which raises the question: Why had they posted it in the first place? Or it could be that the deleted webpage was right, which raises the question: Why did they delete it?

Or it could be that they haven’t the slightest idea what they are doing, which raises the question: Why do so many Americans still want to put their trust, and their lives, at the mercy of these government hacks?

More brainlessness from Ebola experts and government operatives

Disconnected from reality: A liberal doctor, having just returned from Guinea where he was frequently exposed to ebola, wandered about New York City for days, thus ignoring government protocols that required him to limit his contact with outsiders.

Lo and behold, 9 days after his return he is diagnosed with Ebola. But that’s okay, he meant well! He cared!

However, this isn’t the worst of it. The police, after securing the doctor’s apartment, removed their gloves and masks used to protect them and dumped them in an ordinary street trash container on a public street.

Check out the pictures at the website. As stupid and unbelievable as it seems, it’s true. Don’t they see how insane this is, how completely disconnected from reality they are? Sadly no, they don’t. Expect more madness like this in the coming days.

Ebola’s rate of growth

The journal Science provides a detailed analysis of the infection rate of ebola, as well a reasonable estimate of the present and future number of cases.

The article makes two key points. First, the trends “…clearly show that the number of cases has roughly doubled every 3 to 4 weeks and that this trend is continuing. If underreporting gets worse, however, it may be even more difficult to discern such trends.”

Second, there is some good news in the worst effected countries.

The number of new cases in some areas at the epicenter of the outbreak– Kenema and Kailahun districts in Sierra Leone and Liberia’s Lofa county–has been dropping, and that’s not a result of underreporting, says Dye. “It has happened for a sufficiently large number of weeks now that we are confident that it’s a real reduction in incidence on the ground, probably related to control measures,” he says. “Our colleagues working on the ground believe it is too.”

One important factor has been the increase in safe burials, Dye says. (The bodies of Ebola victims are very infections.) People in the affected areas have resisted abandoning traditional burial practices that carry a high risk of infection, but in these three areas, local leaders, supported by WHO and others, have come to advocate a change. If that happens elsewhere, says Dye, “we expect to be able to cut out a substantial amount of infection in the community.”

Obama quarantines American soldiers in Africa but not Africans

Incompetence: Even as the Obama administration refuses to consider any real travel restrictions for African citizens of ebola-ravaged countries, it has ordered military officials to quarantine American troops in Africa for up to 21 days if they suspect they might have ebola.

According to CNN, “Commanders also will be given the authority to isolate their entire unit in the region for the final 10 days of a deployment if necessary. All troops will be monitored for 21 days after returning from the mission.”

Currently, citizens of Ebola outbreak countries are required to self-report their possible exposure. The “honor system” of self-reporting was violated by Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., when he did not voluntarily disclose that he’d carried a pregnant woman in the throes of Ebola.

The restrictions for American troops actually does make sense. The lack of restrictions for Africans, however, is the height of blindness.

Democrats oppose an ebola travel ban

Incompetence: Congressional Democrats have expressed strong opposition to any travel bans from ebola infected countries.

Remember, these are the same people who conceived, wrote, and passed Obamacare, without really reading it or even considering the concerns expressed by many people about the law (all of which have turned out to be true). Thus, it is not surprising they don’t have the brains now to recognize that a quarantine is exactly the right approach to handle ebola at this time, We have a very infectious disease that hasn’t yet broken out into the general populace which we can still keep confined to a small area, where we can more effectively fight it. A quarantine, enforced by a travel ban, will accomplish this.

But these Democrats care! So what they don’t have the ability to think? Let’s vote for them again!

The silent Obamacare protest of doctors

Faced with Obamacare’s high costs and deadening bureaucracy, doctors are finding ways to opt out.

Physicians across the country are responding to this evolution — most recently in response to the Affordable Care Act — by shielding their practices from government interference. This comes in many forms: Rejecting new Medicare and Medicaid patients, transitioning to third-party-free practices and ditching small private practices for employed positions with ever-larger hospital-owned networks.

Incompetence is incompetence, and if you are so stupid as to write an unworkable law that conservatives rightly predicted would do exactly the opposite of what you want — raise costs instead of lowering them, shrink health coverage instead of widening it, corrupt health care instead of improving it — than no one should be surprised if you exhibit incompetence in other areas as well. For example, the incompetence demonstrated by President Obama and the Democratic Party by imposing Obamacare on us is now being illustrated again in how Obama is handling the arrival of ebola on American shores: badly, foolishly, and with nothing but failure as a result.

Reality bites liberal Texas judge

The Texas judge who visited the infected apartment of America’s first ebola victim without protection has now had a complaint filed against him for endangering his own 9-year-old daughter.

The concerned citizen reached out to Breitbart Texas in a phone interview and provided information about his complaint to [Child Protective Services]. He told Brietbart Texas he wanted to remain anonymous because he is a business owner and is concerned about retaliation. He said he felt Jenkins’ conduct was inappropriate and unnecessarily exposed his child to potential danger. “I am doing this because I am concerned about the child,” the complainant said, “and I am concerned for the children in her school who might become exposed if the virus were to spread.”

Read the article at the link. The risks to the judge’s family and their acquaintances are real. Moreover, there is evidence that the judge has spent considerable time in contact with infected locations and individuals, without protection.

But he cares! That absolves him of any guilt should his actions causes others to die!

Some reasons to panic, part 2

Left wing fantasies meet the real world: Apropos my previous post about the refusal of the modern intellectual liberal elite to face reality, on Thursday a liberal Democrat Texas judge and two assistants entered the Ebola-infected apartment of America’s first Ebola patient without any protection.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins shocked the local press corps Thursday night when he and two female workers entered the apartment where America’s first Ebola patient was staying. He entered without any visible protection from possible exposure to the deadly virus. Judge Jenkins entered the apartment to speak with the occupants who are now being held inside their home under a protection order requiring their compliance. He and two unknown women entered and were not visibly wearing gloves or any kind of mask or other form of protection from the virus.

This idiot and his assistants are now wandering around Dallas, shaking hands at political rallies and possibly spreading the disease far and wide. But it is all okay because he cares for these poor infected blacks and wants to help them. And if you die because of his actions it will only be because you are a raaaaaacist!

A blue flask of viruses

The story of the discovery of Ebola.

The next day—September 29—the package arrived: a cheap plastic thermos flask, shiny and blue. I settled down with Guido Van Der Groen—a shy, funny, fellow Belgian aged about thirty, a few years older than I—and René Delgadillo, a Bolivian postdoc student, to open it up on the lab bench. Nowadays it makes me wince just to think of it. Sure, we were wearing latex gloves—our boss insisted on gloves in the lab but we used no other precautions, no suits or masks of any kind.

We didn’t even imagine the risk we were taking. Indeed, shipping those blood samples in a simple thermos, without any kind of precautions, was an incredibly perilous act. Maybe the world was a simpler, more innocent place in those days, or maybe it was just a lot more reckless.

Unscrewing the thermos, we found a soup of half-melted ice: it was clear that subzero temperatures had not been constantly maintained. And the thermos itself had taken a few knocks, too. One of the test tubes was intact, but there were pieces of a broken tube—its lethal content now mixed up with the ice water—as well as a handwritten note, whose ink had partially bled away into the icy wet.

Read it all. The excerpt is from a book length memoir that looks to me to be a very worthwhile read.

Ebola patient arrives in U.S.

Doctors in charge of the specialized isolation unit for treating dangerous infectious diseases are confident that they will be able to treat the infected patients safely without the disease escaping.

I have complete confidence that a well run facility like this, with modern technology, could keep the disease isolated. The key words, however, are “well run.” I pray that this description still applies to Emory University Hospital.