New Ebola vaccine shows 100% success rate in clinical trial. Today the World Health Organization has announced that the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine had a 100% success rate in preventing onset of the disease if administered within 10 days of exposure (n=4,000). In response to the current outbreak in West Africa that has afflicted over 27,000 and killed over 11,000, this collaborative effort led by the WHO pushed the vaccine through a process that usually takes more than a decade in just 12 months. Official paper from The Lancet here (pdf).
Moses, meanwhile, stepped out into the searing midday heat and stretched her legs. She saw six people sitting on the concrete steps of an office across from her lab. Some had been nurses and researchers at Kenema; a couple were part of a newly formed survivors’ union. That’s how they’d heard about Moses’ mission. All six had been infected with Ebola and survived. Hypothetically, that made them immune to the disease. That’s why Moses had returned—to harness that immunity to try to ensure Ebola never killed anyone again.
There's been an ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. With 122 cases so far, this is the worst outbreak since 2007's 264-case outbreak. The worst outbreak was 2000-2001's 425 cases. What makes this one different is the way it has spread so widely. [more inside]
291 diseases and injuries + 67 risk factors + 1,160 non-fatal complications = 650 million estimates of how we age, sicken, and die
As humans live longer, what ails us isn't necessarily what kills us: five data visualizations of how we age, sicken, and die. Causes of death by age, sex, region, and year. Heat map of leading causes and risks by region. Changes in leading causes and risks between 1990 and 2010. Healthy years lost to disability vs. life expectancy in 1990 and 2010. Uncertainties of causes and risks. From the team for the massive Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010. [more inside]
Drug-resistant and "extensively" resistant strains make containment and treatment of tuberculosis ever more difficult. Fortunately, researchers based in Switzerland have (re-)discovered a naturally-made antibiotic called pyridomycin, which will kill isoniazid-resistant M. tuberculosis bacteria.
Mercenary Epidemiology: Data Reanalysis and Reinterpretation for Sponsors With Financial Interest in the Outcome. (.pdf link) When should scientists be required to release their raw data for (potentially hostile) re-analysis? A letter to the editors of Annals of Epidemiology from David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, public health blogger, author of the book Doubt Is Their Product, and, as of December 2009, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, unanimously confirmed by the Senate despite the dismay of some. Michaels interviewed at Science Progress about Doubt Is Their Product (podcast, with transcript.)
Sick City - Maps and Mortality in the Time of Cholera [print version] reviews Stephen Johnson's "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic"*. Dr John Snow became the acknowledged modern father of epidemiology by identifying water as the transmission vehicle of a cholera outbreak in Victorian England. [more inside]
Physicians and scientists around the world even go as far as to state that smoking leads to premature death. Don’t we all know someone who smokes constantly, even heavily, yet is still living — or has lived — to the mature age of eighty, ninety, and older? Furthermore, the MDs and PhDs state that smoking causes cancer and emphysema. If this diagnosis were definitive, wouldn’t these afflictions affect all smokers equally, rather than the small percentage that it actually does affect?
AIDS Dissidents argue AIDS is not really caused by HIV but is a production of medical and pharmaceutical conglomerates. They are willing to argue the point even though some are HIV positive. They use "Seven Deadly Deceptions" such as "The HIV test is unreliable--so don't get tested." to further their cause; and their cause is growing.
Utah Leads Nation in Rate of Anti-Depressant Use. It is interesting (to me) in that the people doing the study credit a "Mother of Zion" syndrome of married Mormon women putting on the happy face regardless of how happy they truly are. My state is up at the top also. Could be all the rain I guess. . .*sigh*
AIDS Altered the Fabric of New York in Ways Subtle and Vast. (NYTimes, reg. required) "...New York City after AIDS is somewhat like America after World War II.."
Three people may have contracted foot-and-mouth, though all the tests aren't in. This is the first time this has occured during the current outbreak. I think the most, er, interesting thing is exactly how one of the guys got it.
http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,372067,00.html Thousands of South American indians were infected with measles, killing hundreds, in order to for US scientists to study the effects on primitive societies of natural selection.