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).
The Art of Saving a Life, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, is a collection of stories about vaccination and immunization, as told by more than 30 world-renowned photographers, painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians. The intent is to promote vaccination just in time for an international effort to raise funds to inoculate millions, especially in poor nations. The full collection of art will be unveiled over the course of January 2015.
Paul Farmer, back from Sierra Leone, discusses Ebola treatment strategies. Brigham and Women's Hospital Grand Rounds, October 31, 2014. Almost an hour but worth it for the depth of info and analysis.
Today is Jonas Salk's 100th birthday. Salk, who reimagined the idea of a vaccine by suggesting that immunity could be established in the body by using inactivated viruses chose not to patent his polio vaccine, which he first tested on his own family. [more inside]
"There is no vaccine for guinea worm, and there are no drugs that can cure those who are infected. The pest once afflicted hundreds of millions of people from the Gambia to India. But the worm is now gone from Guinea, and from almost everywhere else. At last count, there were only five hundred and forty-two people infected, down from an estimated 3.5 million in 1986. Of the remaining cases, exactly five hundred and twenty-one are in South Sudan." -- Parasitologist Mark Siddall on the very successfull, Jimmy Carter sponsored campaign to eradicate the guinea worm and how this campaign proved Malthus wrong.
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]
Since 2010, over 3,000 children throughout northern Uganda have come down with nodding disease, a degenerative neurological condition, reports CNN. [more inside]
In March 2010, a pair of health inspectors responding to multiple tips paid a three-day visit to the factory headquarters of the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) company, a leading international maker of breast implants. On their second day, the inspectors found something odd: six discarded plastic containers of Silopren, a liquid silicone designed for industrial, not medical use, lined up along the outside wall of the production site. The lead inspector estimated they had contained nearly 9 tons of liquid silicone. It now appears as if between 300,000 and 400,000 women throughout the world may have received potentially toxic, faulty breast implants containing ingredients never clinically tested on humans, manufactured and distributed by a company that knowingly deceived regulators, suppliers, distributors, medical professionals and ultimately, patients. Reuters photographer's Blog: Operating on an implant scandal. (Last link NSFW, graphic images that contain nudity.) [more inside]
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.)
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.