12 Dead in Ebola Outbreak, Antibody Patent Rush, Cholera in Nigeria

Global Biodefense Market NewsSee what we’re reading this week at Global Biodefense on topics including the lucrative antibody patent business, call for independent monitoring of preparedness, and an update on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

POLICY + INITIATIVES

Call for Independent Monitoring of Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Persistence of poor preparedness is no surprise. How governments and international organisations deal with the risks of infrequent, predictably recurring, and high impact outbreaks has long followed a set pattern. An initial panic during the outbreak is followed by neglect once the outbreak is over. BMJ

Seventy-First World Health Assembly Update

Delegates considered the report by the Director-General on progress to implement decision WHA70(10) on Review of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework. The Health Assembly approved all the recommendations in the Director-General’s report but requested that the final text of the analysis requested in decision WHA70(10)8b, be submitted to WHA 2019 rather than WHA 2020. World Health Organization

Ebola, Amnesia and Donald Trump

The Trump White House appears to be uniquely amnesiac regarding the last Ebola outbreak. On the same day that officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo reported the new Ebola cases, the administration sought to rescind $252 million in Ebola response funds left over from the earlier epidemic. NY Times

The White House Signals That Bioterrorism and Disease Don’t Matter — Again

Opinion piece by Kenneth W. Bernard, who served as a special assistant to the president for security and health during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Washington Post

OUTBREAK NEWS

New Ebola Death Confirmed in Congo, Bringing Total to 12

Another person has died in Congo of a confirmed case of Ebola, bringing the number of fatalities to 12, the country’s health ministry said. The new death happened in Iboko, a rural area in northwestern Equateur province, according to a health ministry statement released Sunday. There are also four new suspected cases in the province, the statement said. LA Times

Fear and Suspicion Hinder Congo Medics in Ebola Battle

Health officials say they are working hard to get out accurate information about the deadly hemorrhagic fever but face significant mistrust in a part of Africa where many place more faith in clerics in white collars than doctors in white coats. Reuters

Nipah Death Toll in India Hits 12 as CEPI Funds Vaccine Efforts

One more death has been reported in India’s Nipah virus outbreak, and on May 24 the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced a $25 million collaboration with two pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine against the disease, one of the group’s priority diseases. CIDRAP

Cholera Outbreak Kills 12 in Northeast Nigeria

A cholera outbreak has killed 12 people and may have infected at least 134 others in the northeast Nigerian state of Adamawa. Northeast Nigeria is ground zero for Nigeria’s nine-year war against Islamist insurgency Boko Haram and its offshoot, now Islamic State’s West Africa ally. The conflict has spawned one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, with millions of people displaced and in need of aid to survive. Reuters

MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES

Rush to Protect Lucrative Antibody Patents Kicks Into Gear

US universities and biotechnology companies are scrambling to protect some of their most valuable assets: patents on antibodies. These immune-system molecules form the basis of drugs that rake in about US$100 billion per year. Nature

Data Show Vast Majority of Preemies Treated with Antibiotics

A new analysis has found that almost 80% of premature infants are exposed to early antibiotic treatment, administered to to protect them from bacterial infections and early-onset sepsis. But recent research has highlighted potential risks associated with prolonged antibiotic treatment in premature infants without culture-confirmed infection, including increased mortality. CIDRAP

SPECIAL INTEREST

Smithsonian Institute Launches Special Exhibit on Outbreaks

On May 18, 2018, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History launched “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World”, a new exhibit highlighting the impact infectious diseases have around the globe. The launching of this exhibit could not be more timely on the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that shook the world. Pandora Report

Mapping Ebola in the Hobbyist Zone

One of the most important parts of an early understanding of the risks attached to an infectious disease outbreak is knowing where it is. Which country? What part of the country? How remote is its location? How easy is it to access for the locals and for any help that may be coming? Could its location have played a role in exposure to an infected vector or reservoir? Virology Down Under

Netflix’s ‘Cargo’ is a Zombie Movie to Sink Your Teeth Into

Written by Yolanda Ramke and directed by Ramke and Ben Howling, based on their 2013 short film of the same name, “Cargo” takes place in a world where a pandemic has decimated the population. Once infected, people have 48 hours before they turn into bloodthirsty maniacs. The Cap Times

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