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Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

The following editorials and opinion pieces discuss various aspects of the Ebola epidemic.

Bloomberg View: Africa’s Ebola and Asia’s Obligation
Editorial Board

“…With more than 8,000 documented [Ebola] cases and 4,000 reported deaths in West Africa, the epidemic is outstripping international efforts to contain it — and Asian countries in particular have compelling reasons to respond. … Together with the economic consequences, the risks of Ebola going unchecked are arguably greater for Asia than any other part of the world [because of the threat of infection in its dense population centers]. … But the argument goes beyond economics and self-interest, and for Asians, the moral case for more involvement may have special relevance. … All of this makes the paltry response to date of some Asian nations so disappointing…” (10/12).

The Lancet: Ebola: what lessons for the International Health Regulations?
Editorial Board

“…Despite [prevention and treatment] efforts, Ebola is staying ahead of efforts to contain it. In such a situation, although it is understandable to focus on urgent actions, it would be a mistake not to reflect on how we arrived at this situation and what we need to do to prevent it from happening again. The International Health Regulations (IHR) represent the system designed to prevent national public health emergencies from becoming international crises. … Two priorities stand out. First, an urgent donor conference must be convened to discuss the implications of the Ebola epidemic and the international community’s failure to invest in the IHR. … Second, a robust mechanism must be put in place to guarantee independent monitoring and review of country implementation of the IHR…” (10/11).

Huffington Post: Inside the Heart of an Epidemic
Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children

“…One of the key pieces of our response [to Ebola] is to work with the Department of Social Welfare in Liberia to ensure we know where these [orphaned or abandoned] children are and get them basic survival kits, which include food, household items, soap and hygiene supplies, and clothing. Then we begin to try to reunite them with extended family whenever and wherever possible, a painstaking process to trace family members that may be hundreds of miles away…” (10/10).

New York Times: How to Quarantine Against Ebola
Siddhartha Mukherjee, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University

“…Rather than relying on primitive instruments, indiscriminate profiling or questionnaires, we should consider running a pilot program to test asymptomatic travelers using sensitive [polymerase chain reaction (PCR)]-based techniques. … Huge logistical questions would need to be solved … [but] we should develop a pilot program, perhaps targeting the worst-hit regions of the epidemic…” (10/12).

SF Gate: How to put an Ebola treatment on drugmakers’ radar
David Ridley, faculty director of the Health Sector Management program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

“…Sadly, Ebola has been largely ignored by drugmakers because there’s little profit potential for a drug that primarily treats people in poor countries. But there is a law on the books that offers financial incentives to drugmakers to develop treatments for 16 other neglected diseases. And there is a window now open to add Ebola to that list. … Under the current voucher program, the developer of a novel drug for a neglected disease receives an expedited six-month review by the FDA, as well as a bonus priority review voucher that can be sold to another company for use on a different drug. One of those vouchers was sold this year for $67.5 million. … With the 21st Century Cures Initiative, Congress now has an opportunity to enable the voucher program to save more lives” (10/12).

Nature: Before Ebola, Health Officials Thought the Age of Epidemics Was Over — It Wasn’t
Annie Sparrow, assistant professor and deputy director of the Human Rights Program at the Arnhold Global Health Institute at Mount Sinai in New York

“…On WHO’s watch, not only has Ebola thrived to the point of a panic-inducing epidemic, with cases across several countries and in three continents, but polio, once on the verge of eradication, is making a global comeback and mutating into new and lethal mutations. Better leadership is clearly needed, as well as a global commitment to focus WHO on the parts of the world that need its help the most. Closer to home, we must learn how to recognize not only Ebola but polio, measles, and other diseases regaled to history books. … Finally, and perhaps most important of all, we should be investing in the public-health institutions in places like West Africa in order to prevent and, if necessary, respond more quickly to threats of communicable disease than a distant U.N. institution in Geneva…” (10/10).

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