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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Issues Surrounding Ebola Outbreak

The following editorial and opinion pieces address issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Washington Post: The lessons of the Ebola outbreak suggest a larger, faster response is needed
Editorial Board

“The world is fast learning lessons about how to combat the Ebola virus ravaging West Africa and yet not learning them fast enough. … The lesson is that health authorities and governments need to pay attention to the attitudes of everyone, not just the infected. To calm the affected regions in the months ahead will require delivery of massive humanitarian aid to the living above and beyond the medical supplies required to treat the sick. … A related lesson is that, while isolation of the sick is critical, it can’t be imposed at the point of a gun. … Finally, Ebola demands a massive, rapid reaction. The scale is important. … The WHO has published a plan to get Ebola under control in six to nine months at a cost of $490 million. But plans on paper are not enough. A concerted global effort to implement the road map is the only way to put out this fire” (9/1).

Washington Post: What’s missing in the Ebola fight in West Africa
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank and co-founder of Partners in Health, and Paul Farmer, the Kolokotrones University professor at Harvard University and co-founder of Partners in Health

“…[T]he reality is this: The Ebola crisis today is a reflection of long-standing and growing inequalities of access to basic health care. To halt this epidemic, we need an emergency response that is equal to the challenge. We need international organizations and wealthy countries that possess the required resources and knowledge to step forward and partner with West African governments to mount a serious, coordinated response as laid out in the World Health Organization’s Ebola response road map. … It would be scandalous to let this crisis escalate further when we have the knowledge, tools, and resources to stop it. Tens of thousands of lives, the future of the region, and hard-won economic and health gains for millions hang in the balance” (8/31).

Los Angeles Times: WHO’s misplaced Ebola priority
Henry Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

“The World Health Organization is nothing if not opportunistic, impulsively jumping on every public health issue that makes the front page. … The latest on WHO’s radar is the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which has tallied about 1,500 cases [deaths]. To address it, WHO wants more than $430 million — from governments, development banks, the private sector, and in-kind contributions. … Infectious diseases, many of them preventable and treatable, are the scourge of poorer populations, including those that inhabit much of Africa, but the Ebola virus is not high on the list. Malaria is. … But in virtually all poor, malaria-endemic countries, there is inadequate access to antimalarial medicines (especially artemisinin-based combination therapy). That $430 million now sought for Ebola would buy and distribute a lot of those drugs (and vaccines to prevent diseases including hepatitis A and B and human papilloma virus) and benefit far more people…” (8/27).

Wall Street Journal: Genetic Engineering and the Fight Against Ebola
Henry Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

“A handful of patients in the largest-ever Ebola outbreak have been treated with an experimental drug called ZMapp. … The medicine is made through ‘biopharming,’ a relatively new and promising way to create drugs through genetic engineering, but the technology is stymied by regulation and fear-mongering. … The ostensible objective of the regulation is to avoid biopharmed drugs winding up in food, if crop plants are used in the drug production. … But the fear is overblown, and contamination can be avoided in several ways. … For Ebola and so many other diseases, if we are to reap what biopharming sows, we will need [public-private] collaboration. That will require more funding, reasonableness from regulators, and tolerance from the food industry” (8/25).

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