14 – 19 February

A snapshot of media coverage on the coronavirus outbreak:

Jimmy Whitworth speaks to…

(19/02) CBC News about the strain placed on China’s health services as a result of the outbreak. Jimmy said: “As seen in China, this virus can spread rapidly in populations, and can cause a major strain on health services simply by the sheer number of cases.”

(18/02) BBC News about the situation on the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship. Jimmy said: “It was absolutely the right thing to do to quarantine the ship because we need to protect the health of the general public. But it is clear that the measures have not stopped all transmission. We need to remember that most people on that ship are still uninfected, so it has been successful to some extent.”

(18/02) Reuters about the decline in new cases. Jimmy said: “We can hope that the reports of falling numbers of new cases in China do show that the epidemic has peaked in Hubei province, but it is still too early to be sure.”

(18/02) Daily Mail about the challenges of containing infections in confined spaces, amid over 500 people testing positive for COVID-19 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Jimmy said: “Cruise ships are crowded and people are very close to each other. This is a respiratory virus so it’s going to be spreading by droplet spread, close contact and contaminated surfaces about the place. This virus is highly transmissible and is tough to control in this circumstance.”

David Heymann speaks to…

(17/02) The Guardian about the difficulty in predicting the ease of COVID-19 transmission amid concerns over the disembarkment of passengers from the Westerdam cruise ship in Cambodia, after one passenger later tested positive. David questions: “Whether the countries where [departing passengers] go have the proper surveillance systems in places to detect and test those people should they develop any kind of a fever or any signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection?”

(17/02) Reuters about the role urbanisation plays in facilitating the spread of diseases such as coronavirus. David said: “Urban areas are unique and must develop solutions in addition to strong disease detection and response systems to rapidly control emerging infections.”

Adam Kucharski speaks to…

(16/02) The Sunday Times about the importance of collaboration in epidemiology, citing the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Adam said: “You have to be careful about numbers. I’d compare it to the 2014 Ebola outbreak: at one point we saw cases tailing off. Then we realised a hospital had filled up, so it simply wasn’t reporting any more cases.”

(15/02) Newstalk (from 16:11) about how mathematical modelling is helping to map the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. Adam said: “We can distil it down to a few key numbers. One of the key values we look at early on in an outbreak is the reproduction number… But it’s not just the amount of growth that we are concerned about, it’s also about the speed at which it happens – the generation time.”

John Edmunds speaks to…

(16/02) The Sunday Times about the likelihood of the coronavirus spreading throughout the UK. John said: “It doesn’t mean to say everybody is going to be seriously ill. The vast majority would have mild illness, a cough and a cold, then recover and be perfectly well.” John’s comments were also picked up by The Sun.

(15/02) BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme (from 50:30) about the likelihood of the coronavirus outbreak becoming a pandemic in the UK, following projections of 50% of Britons being affected. John said: “Based on what we know at the moment that is a distinct possibility. Rates of illness could be as high as that. It may be significantly lower but it doesn’t mean to say everybody’s going to be very seriously ill.”

Other LSHTM experts:

(18/02) Preliminary research by LSHTM’s Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases on the projected peak of the outbreak features in Nature, Bloomberg, The Times of India and The Japan Times.

(14/02) Ed Parker discusses his motivation behind developing a new coronavirus mapping tool on BBC World Service. Ed said: “I started following the story just at the same time as the rest of the world but I didn’t feel I was getting more understanding of the disease with each passing headline.”

Further LSHTM coverage:

Analysis by LSHTM on the proliferation of counterfeit medicine in sub-Saharan African featured in The Conversation.

Martin McKee is quoted in The Guardian about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

Health Policy and Planning’s Top 10 articles in 2019

By Natasha Salaria (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

Health Policy and Planning publishes health policy and systems research focusing on low- and middle-income countries. The journal consists of four sections; Health Systems Research, Health Economics, Health Policy Processes and Implementation Research and Evaluation.

2019 was another busy year with the publication of a further 3 high-quality supplements on Health Systems Financing, Advancing Health Systems in the SDG era and Access to Medicines through Health Systems in LMICs. Our editors processed over 700 submissions (not including revised submissions) and published over 100 articles. Our impact factor also saw another increase to 2.717 providing us with a 5-year impact factor of 3.126 and placing us 14th out of 81 within the Health Policy & Services category.

Below you can find our top 10 most cited, downloaded and most accessed content in the past year from content published between 2017-2019 and we look forward to another successful year in 2020!

Top 10 Cited Papers

  1. Disrespectful and abusive treatment during facility delivery in Tanzania: a facility and community survey [Link]
  2. Understanding and improving the one and three times GDP per capita cost-effectiveness thresholds [Link]
  3. Strengthening mental health system governance in six low- and middle-income countries in Africa and South Asia: challenges, needs and potential strategies [Link]
  4. Quality of integrated chronic disease care in rural South Africa: user and provider perspectives [Link]
  5. Indonesia’s road to universal health coverage: a political journey [Link]
  6. Frameworks to assess health systems governance: a systematic review [Link]
  7. Support and performance improvement for primary health care workers in low- and middle-income countries: a scoping review of intervention design and methods [Link]
  8. Health provider responsiveness to social accountability initiatives in low- and middle-income countries: a realist review [Link]
  9. Catastrophic healthcare expenditure and poverty related to out-of-pocket payments for healthcare in Bangladesh-an estimation of financial risk protection of universal health coverage [Link]
  10. The impact of an mHealth monitoring system on health care utilization by mothers and children: an evaluation using routine health information in Rwanda [Link]

Top 10 Downloaded Papers

  1. The cost of not breastfeeding: global results from a new tool [Link]
  2. Cuban Infant Mortality and Longevity: Health Care or Repression? [Link]
  3. 10 Best resources for community engagement in implementation research [Link]
  4. The impacts of decentralization on health system equity, efficiency and resilience: a realist synthesis of the evidence [Link]
  5. Infectious disease risk and international tourism demand [Link]
  6. Frameworks to assess health systems governance: a systematic review [Link]
  7. 10 best resources on power in health policy and systems in low- and middle-income countries [Link]
  8. Community health volunteers could help improve access to and use of essential health services by communities in LMICs: an umbrella review [Link]
  9. Integrated care: learning between high-income, and low- and middle-income country health systems [Link]
  10. Integrated mental health services in China: challenges and planning for the future [Link]

Top 10 Altmetric Scoring Papers

  1. Cuban Infant Mortality and Longevity: Health Care or Repression? [Link]
  2. The cost of not breastfeeding: global results from a new tool [Link]
  3. Coca-Cola’s political and policy influence in Mexico: understanding the role of institutions, interests and divided society [Link]
  4. 10 best resources on power in health policy and systems in low- and middle-income countries [Link]
  5. Urgent care centres reduce emergency department and primary care same-day visits: a natural experiment [Link]
  6. The impact of cash transfers on social determinants of health and health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review [Link]
  7. The impacts of decentralization on health system equity, efficiency and resilience: a realist synthesis of the evidence [Link]
  8. Priority setting for health in the context of devolution in Kenya: implications for health equity and community-based primary care [Link]
  9. Psychosocial support for adolescent girls in post-conflict settings: beyond a health systems approach [Link]
  10. Allocation of development assistance for health: is the predominance of national income justified? [Link]

Share your knowledge – Write an alumni blog post

Want to share your experiences of LSHTM? Are you involved in interesting research? Have you been on a trip that the world needs to know about? Write for our alumni blog!

This blog is a space for our alumni to show what they are/have been involved in. With over 30,000 alumni living across the world, there are exciting stories to be shared.

If you are short of time or in need of some inspiration, we are happy to provide an alumni profile template. This will ask about your time at LSHTM, the connections you made and what you have achieved since leaving. You could answer these questions in the time it takes to make a coffee!

Blog posts are shared on here and on our social media pages – tell your colleagues, friends and family to take a look.

To get started just email Alumni@LSHTM.ac.uk with your full name and what you would like to blog about.

Our top tips!

  1. Keep it simple (and to the point): There’s just not enough hours in the day, make your blog easy to digest for readers.
  2. Use images: A picture speaks a thousand words, utilise them to express your story.
  3. Use links: Let your audience know where they can find out more!

Example blogs

Alumni profile: Victor Ugo https://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/alumni/2019/11/19/alumni-innovators-victor-ugo/

Research: Benjamin Momo Kadia https://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/alumni/2019/11/26/alumni-researchers-investigating-tb-in-sub-saharan-africa/

Achievements: Nicki Connell https://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/alumni/2020/01/29/nicki-connell-mbe-for-services-to-emergency-nutrition-crisis-abroad/

Practicalities

Word count: Most posts will be 600 – 900 words, however they can vary. Our word limit is 1500  – posts over this count will be edited down.

Editing: The alumni office may make small changes to your article to fit with our blog style or word count.

Photo consent: If other individuals are in your images, they must be aware and consent to the images being used in a public domain.

Library Update – Spring 2020

Temperature issues in the Library

If you’ve used the Library recently you’ll be aware that we are having problems with cold in the main reading room. This is due to a problem with broken radiators which has resulted in them all having to be turned off. The Estates Team have investigated, and due to the nature of the repair work we will have to wait until the summer for this to happen. You may prefer to use the North Courtyard study area, Barnard Room or upstairs group study area during colder periods. We are aware of the inconvenience this is causing you and would like to take this opportunity to apologise.

Using Senate House Library (SHL)

If you’re starting to think about your Summer Projects, now is a good time to join Senate House Library and get familiar with using their resources. Membership provides access to their physical collection, study spaces, and most importantly, their online resources.

  • To register, complete the online registration form and then take your School ID card to the SHL reception (take the lift to the 4th floor) to collect your membership card.
  • To search for resources use their online catalogue.
  • To log in to online resources, your username is your name, and your password is the number printed on your SHL membership card.

Using other libraries

Did you know you can also use other libraries?

  • In London, you can access other University of London libraries, e.g. Birkbeck, UCL, SOAS.
  • Using the SCONUL Access system, you can access University libraries across the UK – apply online.
  • Always check the library website before visiting to find out their visitor opening hours and registration process. If you wish to use online resources, take a USB.

Finding out about the Library and accessing support

We have support materials and information about the library on our Moodle and Service Desk pages.

Feedback

The Information Skills Team would like to get your feedback on the ‘Searching the Literature’ classes. If you have attended a class, and didn’t complete a feedback form at the time, please complete this short form:

If you’d like to give feedback on any aspect of the Library services, we have a range of options. You can provide feedback:

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Love in the time of Sleeping Sickness

There’s happiness in love                Peter mine
that will raise our souls above,      Peter mine,
Hearts together we will roam
through long ages yet to come
Finding nature Truth our own.      Peter mine!

This fulsome expression of love was written by Geoffrey D. H. Carpenter as part of a poem entitled ‘Peter, my Rock’ included in the early pages of his diary. The ‘Peter’ referred to in the poem is Amy Frances Peter, who Carpenter became engaged to in October 1919. The lines of verse almost seem to map out the future life of the couple, who left England shortly after their marriage on 30. December 1919, ‘hearts together’ and bound for Uganda where Geoff, with his ‘rock’ at his side, was to continue his research into Sleeping Sickness.

Pages from the Carpenter Diary

The Carpenters documented their time in Africa within a shared diary. It is an extraordinary volume replete with photographs, handwritten diary entries from the couple, dried flowers and press cuttings. The diary is a window into colonial life in 1920s Africa, of the contrast between the harsh, sometimes dangerous life of the field researcher and the luxury and privilege of colonial society.

A newspaper cutting included in the diary detailing a fancy dress dance in Entebbe

This contrast is illustrated in the pages of the diary, by wildly disparate entries, often written within a few days of each other. For example, in an extract from 29. October 1929, Geoff describes a ‘long exhausting tramp to see Waiga river’ where he ‘nearly walked into an elephant coming back’. This is juxtaposed with a rather more tame encounter on the following page, where Amy refers to ‘a very jolly afternoon’ they both enjoyed in Kampala ‘at the Bishop’s garden party’.

The diary is also, in its way, a love story. Between news of social events, visits from the Prince of Wales and nasty bouts of malaria, the volume is scattered with small expressions of devotion between husband and wife. For example, in April 1923 Geoff comments that ‘Peter . . . looked a perfect pet’ at a dance they both attended. Elsewhere, in an entry from December 1922 Amy writes of her excitement, following a separation, ‘when the lovely day came for [Geoff] to get home!’. Their deep affection for one another continues on a visit they made to England in the summer of 1926. In one entry dated 3. August, Amy speaks of ‘missing Geoff horribly’ while she was in Bath and he in Oxford. On the very next line Geoff responds with ‘no more than I missed her all the time I was in Oxford!’. Towards the end of their visit home they return to Cornwall and revisit the ‘engagement stone’ where Geoff proposed in 1919. Amy writes of the occasion:

we photographed the Engagement stone, and then my darling and I went down to the actual spot where the best thing in the world happened to me.

Amy and Geoff Carpenter standing next to the ‘Engagement stone’.

Geoff, in answer, writes the words ‘and to me!’

The diary gives an insight into Amy and Geoff Carpenter’s day-to-day life in Uganda in the 1920s, capturing both the mundanity and the adventure in equal measure. Yet, at the same time, it also presents a picture of marital bliss, a story that translates down the years, of two people in love, partners in both life and work, embarking on their journey through life together.

The diary is available in the archives for researchers, please see the archives website for further information on access

7 – 13 February

A snapshot of media coverage on the coronavirus outbreak

LSHTM has garnered over 3,400 pieces of online media coverage and 610 pieces of broadcast coverage on the coronavirus outbreak since 1 January.

Adam Kucharski speaks to…

(12/02) BBC Radio 4 (from 11:40) about the effectiveness of quarantine measures aboard the Diamond cruise ship in Japan. Adam said: We want to find measures that can reduce the potential for onward outbreaks but in doing that we also need to consider the people that are being placed under quarantine and whether we’re putting them in an environment where their transmission risk is greater than needs to be.”

(10/02) Sky News about when the virus could potentially peak. Adam said: “We are seeing in recent days evidence of slow down in the number of cases appearing. Whether that is a genuine change in transmission, we are working hard to untangle.”

(10/02) The Washington Post (£) about the containment of the coronavirus in the UK, following a British national spreading the virus to 11 other Britons. Adam said: “It’s reassuring from a control point of view that these cases are linked. We are not seeing five, 10 cases appearing that we’ve got no idea where they have come from.

(09/02) Bloomberg about the potential transmission dynamics of the virus. Adam said: “Assuming current trends continue, we’re still projecting a mid-to-late-February peak. There’s a lot of uncertainty, so I’m cautious about picking out a single value for the peak, but it’s possible based on current data we might see a peak prevalence over 5%.”

(08/02) The Guardian about the dangers of misinformation on the virus. Adam said: “At best, misinformation can distract from important messages. At worst, it can lead to behaviour that amplifies disease transmission. The novelty of coronavirus makes the challenge even greater, because viral speculation can easily overwhelm the limited information we do have.”

David Heymann speaks to…

(11/02) NPR about the formal naming process for SARS, following the renaming of the coronavirus by WHO. David said: “There were no rules at that time about how to name it, so we just went ahead and did it. The first thing we decided was it would be good to have a name that had the same type of a ring as AIDS — easy to say and short.”

(11/02) NewScientist about the difficulty in predicting the virulence of the disease. David said: “You can’t really gauge what’s going on with this.”

(10/02) BBC Radio 4 (from 9:00) about containment strategies and how people can protect themselves. David said: “It’s always a difficult decision on whether you concentrate on individuals to protect the population, or vice versa.”

(10/02) The Financial Times (£) about the MERS outbreak in 2014, citing it as an indication of the effectiveness of the UK’s approach to protecting against outbreaks. David said: “They know how to do this in the UK. The UK has decided to protect its entire population so it doesn’t spread further.”

(10/02) The Guardian about whether the virus can be contained. David said: “SARS emerged in one or two people. This current outbreak it seems was quite explosive at the start – it was many different people infected at the start, and they each set off their own chain of transmission.”

(09/02) The Straits Times about Singapore moving its disease outbreak response up a level. David said: “You have to put precautionary measures in until you understand what the potential of this outbreak is. Every precautionary measure based on national assessment should be followed.”

John Edmunds is quoted in…

(11/02) South China Morning Post about the accuracy of official data from China. John said: “The data from China are so crude that it is impossible to get an accurate picture of what is going on.”

(10/02) BBC News about how people with worse personal hygiene such as children, are more likely to transmit infections than others. John said: “That’s why closing schools can be a good measure.”

(09/02) The Daily Mail about the effectiveness of travel restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus. John said: “Travel restrictions would buy us more valuable time.”

(08/02) The Daily Mail about the difficulty in predicting the true scale of the outbreak. John said: “It’s a mild disease that might be missed if somebody doesn’t seek healthcare. And none of the tests are going to be 100% sensitive so it is not unusual to only capture maybe 10% of the cases.”

Brendan Wren talks to…

(10/02) Channel 4 News (from 01:00) about why the term ‘super-spreader’ is flawed when it comes to describing people who inadvertently infect others with the coronavirus. Brendan said: “Some people may transmit the disease because they are in close proximity to a lot of people. It doesn’t make them a super-spreader. We have to think the opposite. There have been many who have been in contact with people who have the disease and it’s not spread to them.”

(10/02) Sky News about current prevention measures in the UK. Brendan said: “Public Health England are taking suitable measures. Quarantining people from the epicentre in China is a sensible step because we need to nip this in the bud before it gets into the general population.”

(10/02) LBC about the risk of transmission outside of the two-week incubation period. Brendan said: “We don’t know everything about this novel coronavirus but two weeks in quite a long time. From what we know so far, I think that should be a safe period.”

Other LSHTM experts

(12/02) Beate Kampmann tells BBC Radio London (from 19:30) why labelling individuals ‘super-spreaders’ is flawed. Beate said: “To stigmatise or victimise them is not justifiable.”

(12/02) Edward Parker discusses a new mapping tool that has been developed by LSHTM’s Vaccine Centre to track the history of the coronavirus in The Conversation. Edward said: “Our hope is that this tool will provide more context to the daily headlines and a fresh perspective on key turning points in the disease’s history.” 

(11/02) Preliminary research by LSHTM’s Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases on the transmission and control of the virus features in Business Insider and The Straits Times

(10/02) Martin Hibberd considers the coronavirus’ estimated case-fatality rate in Yahoo! News. Martin said: “This is reminiscent of the 2009-nH1N1 influenza strain [bird flu], where initial estimates were also much higher than the now more established less than 0.1% rate overall. It is worth noting though this pandemic caused serious additional problems to healthcare systems worldwide, showing why governments have placed such importance on this new coronavirus even as the case fatality rate drops.”

(09/02) Peter Piot discusses the potential for the outbreak to become a pandemic in The Sunday Times (£). Peter said: It’s a greater threat because of the mode of transmission. The potential for spread is much, much higher.”

Further LSHTM coverage

Sanjay Kinra appears on BBC Two’s ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’ (from 03:00) to test whether gentle yoga can lower individuals’ blood pressure as much as a workout.

Research by LSHTM’s Ana Bonell which assesses the impact of hot weather on prematurity in Africa is featured in Reuters.

Clare Chandler discusses the social problems that underlie antibiotic resistance in SciDevNet. Clare said: “This is inherently a social problem as well as a biological problem, we cannot treat it only as something that is happening in the realm of biology, otherwise we can’t address it.

Rachel Lowe explains why the dengue outbreak in Latin America is so severe in CGTN. Rachel said: “Part of it could be to do with having suitable climate conditions that can help the mosquitoes breed and spread the disease further.”

Research by LSHTM that is looking into brain function in former professional footballers is featured in The Telegraph (£).

Brendan Wren comments on a new antibiotic with a “unique approach” to killing bacteria in the Daily Mail. Brendan said: “The study is a promising approach to discovering new antibiotics against MRSA and possibly other bacteria. However, as this new group of antibiotics have only been tested in mice, there is still a long way to go before this could be a product as there will be considerations of costs and testing for toxicity and efficacy in humans.”

UK sugar tax reduces sugar in SSBs

Fiscal interventions aimed at reducing sugar consumption and improving population diet have become increasingly popular in recent years. In April 2018, the UK government introduced the Soft Drinks Industry Levy which aimed to help combat childhood obesity and related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The money raised from the levy was also to be ploughed back into initiatives aimed at improving health in school-age children.

This levy was applied to drinks containing more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, but excluded fruit juice, milk-based drinks, alcoholic drinks, or drinks from companies with sales of less than 1m litres per year.

New research, published yesterday in PLoS Medicine1, led by Oxford and Cambridge Universities and involving PHI|Lab members Professor Steven Cummins, Dr Cherry Law and Dr Laura Cornelsen found the levy has prompted large-scale reformulation of sugary drinks. We found that very few eligible drinks, just 15%, were still liable for the levy by February 2019 compared to the 52% of eligible drinks liable for the tax prior to implementation.

After the announcement of the levy the percentage of drinks liable for the levy began to reduce faster than the background trend. For example, if the trend had continued, by February 2019, 49% of drinks would still have been eligible for the tax, rather than the 15% actually seen. The biggest changes in drink formulation happened just before the implementation of the levy. In the 100 days either side of the implementation date (6 April 2018), 11% of the eligible drinks changed sugar content so that they were not liable.

Price analysis showed that, for branded drinks, around half of the levy was passed onto consumers in higher prices of drinks in the higher levy category after the introduction of the levy, while lower levy drinks reduced in price.

This research suggests that taxes and levies can be used to improve the healthiness of food, and that they have a bigger influence on the food industry than purely voluntary measures, such as the government’s public health responsibility deal, or other non-fiscal interventions such as food labelling.

Importantly the levy is currently only applied to a relatively small proportion of soft drinks, which gives a large amount of policy headroom for extension to other sugary drinks that are currently exempt, such as milk-based drinks.

Additionally, previous research published in the BMJ by Laura Cornelsen and others2 has suggested that extending taxes and levies on sugar to sweet snacks such as confectionery could reduce sugar consumption at an even faster rate. Our research suggests that in the UK policymakers should now consider whether to extend the use of fiscal levers as a safe and effective way of improving population diet.

References:

  1. Scarborough P, Adhikari V, Harrington RA, Elhussein A, Briggs A, Rayner M, Adams J, Cummins S, Penney T, White M. (2020) Impact of the announcement and implementation of the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy on sugar content, price, product size and number of available soft drinks in the UK, 2015-19: A controlled interrupted time series analysis. PLoS Med 17(2): e1003025. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003025
  2. Scheelbeek P, Cornelsen L, Marteau T, Jebb S, Smith R (2019) Potential impact on prevalence of obesity in the UK of a 20% price increase in high sugar snacks: modelling study BMJ 366:I4786 https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4786
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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To mark the occasion we are shining a light on the life and work of Alice Ball. Ball was one of three women – along with Florence Nightingale and Marie Sklowdoska-Curie – added to LSHTM’s iconic frieze of medical pioneers in 2019. Prior to this the frieze featured 23 men, and notably, not a single woman. However, unlike Nightingale and Sklowdoska-Curie, Ball’s contribution to medicine was, for many years, unknown and uncelebrated.

Ball’s name now appears on the LSHTM frieze.

Born in 1892 in Seattle, USA, Alice Augusta Ball became the first African American, and the first woman, to graduate with a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the College of Hawaii. On graduating she also became the first woman to take up a teaching position within the university.

Alongside teaching, Ball worked on developing a treatment for leprosy. It was this research that would, eventually, earn her a place within medical history. Ball pioneered a method — known as the Ball Method – for administering chaulmoogra oil. The oil was considered to be a promising treatment for leprosy, but a number of unfortunate side effects severely limited its efficacy. This issue was resolved by Ball who developed an injectable solution of the oil.

Tragically, Ball died at the age of 24, before she had published her findings. Her work was continued by the president of the College of Hawaii, Arthur L. Dean, who took credit for Ball’s discovery. Dean published the research under his own name, and until the 1940s – when the drug Dapsone was discovered – an injection of chaulmoogra oil was the most effective method of treating leprosy. It was not until much later that Ball’s crucial role in the development of the treatment was recognised.

Alice Ball’s life and work is a story not only of the remarkable scientific achievements of a young woman, but also of the often hidden nature of women’s contributions to history. It is only by celebrating trailblazing women such as Ball that we can begin to recognise the vital part women have played within science, and their often notable absence within the pages of history books. The addition of Alice Ball, Florence Nightingale and Marie Sklowdoska-Curie to LSHTM’S frieze, goes some way to righting this wrong.

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30 January – 6 February

A snapshot of media coverage on the coronavirus outbreak

Peter Piot speaks to…

(05/02) Financial Times (£) about the “inevitable” likelihood of an outbreak in Africa. Peter said: “I wonder if there aren’t already cases. It seems remarkable that an increasing number of European countries have cases, that almost all Asian countries have cases and that there are some in the Americas, but that there are none from Africa.”

(02/02) The New York Times (£) about the possibility of a pandemic. Peter said: “This looks far more like H1N1’s spread than SARS, and I am increasingly alarmed. Even 1 percent mortality would mean 10,000 deaths in each million people.” Peter’s comments were also featured in The Straits TimesThe Indian Express and The Sydney Morning Herald.

(31/01) CNA about the World Health Organization’s decision to declare the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Peter said: “It came a bit late… the most important thing is that no country waited for that declaration to put in place measures to contain this epidemic.”

(31/01) The Straits Times about the potential severity and virulance of the novel coronavirus. Peter said: “The month of February is going to be very critical, and will tell us if the outbreak is going to be much bigger or not. If the virus spreads in nations that have healthcare systems that are less developed, it might be a cause for concern.”

(30/01) The New York Times (£) about why the World Health Organization’s emergency declaration process is flawed. Peter said: “It is time for the WHO to change its all-or-nothing, binary approach to declaring an emergency. In every emergency, there is a spectrum of alert levels.”

Professor David Heymann talks to…

(06/02) BBC Radio 4 (from 2:15:13) about the difficulty in tracking accurate case numbers. David said: “The numbers are always probably greater because what we don’t understand is the spectrum of the disease. We don’t understand how many infections are actually asymptomatic. We have mild symptoms like cold and so it’s very difficult at this point in time to really identify cases.”

(06/02) The Guardian about the importance of up to date information. David said: “What helps in an outbreak is to know what you don’t know. The evidence will come, as the rate of transmission and reproductive rates are estimates, not models. Models are only as good as the information in them.”

(05/02) Sky News about the importance of developing a vaccine for future epidemics. David said: “In the case of SARS there was lots of interest in developing a vaccine but that disappeared rapidly after the outbreak was contained and over. Today we have a new coalition – the CEPI – which is based here in London and which is simulating development of vaccines and hopefully that will continue to stimulate development of corona vaccines after this outbreak is over. It may not be effective in getting a vaccine ready for this outbreak, a vaccine may not even be necessary.”

(04/02) The Daily Mail about the possibility of a new vaccine in the immediate future. David said: “A vaccine is a long way off. There will not be a vaccine probably to deal with this outbreak, but there is work being done on coronavirus vaccines in general. I’m confident that there will one day be a coronavirus vaccine.” David’s comments were also featured in The Sun and the Daily Star.

(04/02) The Evening Standard about the likelihood of the coronavirus becoming an endemic disease. David said: “We don’t know yet whether this will become a disease which is endemic in human populations. We can assume that coronaviruses have probably emerged in the past.”

(01/02) The Guardian about the vulnerability of healthy people in middle age, following the death of a 36-year old. David said: “This 36-year-old is an enigma. We know that the majority of people who have died to date have co-morbidity and are elderly.”

(01/02) The Mail On Sunday about the effectiveness of masks as a protective measure. David said: “In general they are not known to be effective in protecting against infection.”

Jimmy Whitworth is quoted in…

(01/02) The Independent about the usefulness of masks to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Jimmy said: “There’s little evidence they are very effective. They’re more beneficial if you have a virus and don’t want to pass it on than to prevent catching anything.”

(31/01) The Daily Mail about the importance of tracking down individuals who have been in contact with coronavirus patients. Jimmy said: “What you don’t want is this to spread any more in the community. Now we believe that people can be infected before they actually show symptoms, that means cases and contacts will need to be tested to see if they are infected or not.”

John Edmunds speaks to…

(05/02) South China Morning Post about the difficulty in ascertaining the effectiveness of containment measures. John said: “Given that the serial interval appears to be reasonably long, then it would take a bit of time for effects to be seen.”

(31/01) The Guardian about the first diagnosis of coronavirus in the UK. John said: “This event, whilst unwelcome, is not surprising. However, the UK authorities have been preparing for this for some time, and it seems as if appropriate measures are being taken to limit onward spread.”

Other LSHTM experts…

(06/02) Polly Roy reflects on SARS and cautions that industry interest in a coronavirus vaccine could plummet as the outbreak slows down in WIRED. Polly said: “It had gone so fast that no one wanted the vaccine anymore. If there’s no profit, then manufacturers don’t want it anymore.”

(01/02) Annelies Wilder-Smith cautions that ‘panic buying’ of face masks is unwarranted and could pose risks for health workers in CNBC. Annelies said: “People who are well should refrain from hoarding masks ‘just in case’ they need it, as this may lead to a lack of masks in settings that really need it. While we should take the outbreak seriously, we mustn’t panic and behave in a manner that is disproportionate to the threat we are confronted with.”

(31/01) Sally Bloomfield provides general hygiene advice when travelling in Huffington Post. Sally said: “Planes are just like any other living environment. The more crowded it gets, the more likely there is to be a spread of harmful germs.

(30/01) Preliminary research by LSHTM on the effectiveness of airport screenings features in The Telegraph.

Further LSHTM coverage…

Peter Piot’s pioneering work in co-discovering the Ebola virus is featured in The Telegraph

Research by LSHTM’s Cancer Survival Group on cancer survival disparities is featured in the Daily Mail, The Telegraph and ITV News.

Michel Coleman is interviewed by France 24 on the effects of Brexit on the NHS.

Rosemary Green is quoted in Harper’s Bazaar about the environmental benefits of the ‘low food chain’ diet. Rosemary said: “It’s not a completely vegan diet, but the emissions are really low because those animals are converting energy much more efficiently than an animal that is much higher up the food chain, like a cow or a sheep.”

On social media:

This week’s social media highlight comes from Twitter, where we announced the launch of our brand new podcast, Viral:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 30 January – 6 February