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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Reactions To Ebola Outbreak

An editorial and opinion pieces discuss reactions to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The Guardian: The Guardian view on Ebola and the need for new drugs
“…There is rightly an international effort to help the victims of Ebola in medical centers near the affected zones. That means… investing in research for an antidote for a disease that is not an obvious threat outside West Africa. … Deadly viruses challenge convention everywhere. … [M]any of these newer viral infections are so lethal and kill their victims so fast that the epidemic peaks and subsides before a drug treatment can be rolled out. The innovative solution put forward by the Wellcome Trust is to change the protocol so that a new drug, if it had passed the earlier phases of safety and efficacy, could be used in the course of a real epidemic without the normal phase 2 trials on humans. That would require a big leap in trust. For that reason alone, trialling a new drug during an epidemic in Africa would look damagingly exploitative. But it may be that the most sensible response to the Ebola outbreak there is to prepare new protocols to fight every virus faster and more vigorously here” (8/1).

The Guardian: Ebola has infected public discourse with a new xenophobia
Lola Okolosie, contributor

“…Four months ago Ebola looked like yet another far-off possibility not worth worrying about. The disease’s quiet rampage in the distant forests of West Africa went largely unnoticed. It is only now, with the possibility of Ebola reaching us via the next flight in, that we realize how interconnected we are. In the age of diaspora and globalization, it is ridiculous to think that we are, or could be, a fortress” (8/4).

Washington Post: What we need to fight Ebola
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota

“…What happens if the response to and management of this outbreak don’t shift? The fear and panic are growing each day, with new areas reporting cases and more health-care workers dying. If it continues, West Africa could become politically and economically destabilized. …This coming week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington must put the Ebola crisis front and center. If the presidents of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone decide to stay home, it will be virtually impossible to do so. Other African countries must also pledge quick and effective responses if cases occur within their borders. We are at a critical point, and the response by the international community and the affected countries will determine if this outbreak is just a chapter in the region’s story — or a dramatic and dangerous shift in West Africa’s future” (8/1).

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