29 November – 5 December 2014

Ebola media coverage:

Sebastian Funk and David Heymann are quoted by the Associated Press after the WHO miss their target to contain Ebola: Sebastian: “You want to isolate 100% of patients with Ebola and have 100% safe burials. Getting to 70% doesn’t really mean a lot.” David: “We hope that what we’re seeing in Liberia will continue, but unfortunately what can happen with Ebola is that it can go to new countries, as it has already to Mali. The most dangerous thing would be if people now think Ebola is over and become complacent.” The article receives widespread coverage including The Daily Mail, The Guardian, ABC News, Yahoo News, Daily Herald, Irish Examiner.

Ian Robert’s comment piece published in The Lancet, looking at clinical care for Ebola patients is covered by The Guardian: It is often stated that there are no proven therapies for Ebola virus disease but that potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies, and antiviral drugs, are being evaluated. This view is inaccurate… In earlier outbreaks, the death rate was about 90% and, in this outbreak, it started out at about 70% and it’s come down but it could come right down again and we could see this largely fatal disease became a largely survivable disease.” Also covered by other outlets including Reuters, Yahoo News, The Journal, Business Standard.

John Edmunds speaks to The Sun about the need for an Ebola vaccine: “In the future, if we had a vaccine available, we could at least vaccinate frontline staff – not only doctors and nurses but the people removing the bodies and cleaners – and stop the horrific rate of infection that has happened. It could even stop outbreaks as they occur.”

Sebastian Funk talks to Irin News about his work using mathematical modelling to forecast the Ebola outbreak: “From the beginning we have worked hand-in-hand with MSF. Initially it was to predict how many beds they would need. They send us data collected on the ground and we analyse it for them, and I think they have found that useful.” Also reported in All Africa and Nam News Network.

David Heymann talks to Voice of America, in a video focusing on the first confirmed outbreak of Ebola in 1976: “The fear was so great that one of my first assignments was to go out to NASA to collect the isolation unit that had been used for the astronauts when they came off the moon… Ebola was considered a major threat back in 1976 because nothing was known about the virus.” He is also quoted in a Centre Daily article.

Peter Piot talks to Business Day about South Africa’s readiness for a potential outbreak of Ebola: “If Congo can contain an outbreak, if Senegal can – so can SA. The big challenge with Ebola is that it is not over until the last infected patient has died or recovered.”

Peter Piot is quoted by the Daily Mail, criticising the slow response of the WHO to Ebola. His comments come from an interview with Talk to Al Jazeera, due to air this month: “It took three months for the WHO to find out there was an Ebola outbreak. That I understand. Guinea had a poor laboratory infrastructure. I have much more of a problem with the fact that it took five months for WHO – for the international health regulations committee, for that’s what it is – to declare this a state of emergency.” Also reported in This is Money, Economic Times.

Peter Piot is also quoted by The South China Morning Post, warning of the threat to public health that mainland China may face from Ebola.

The School’s new free online course about the Ebola outbreak and response is covered by Times Higher Education and The Huffington Post.

Other media coverage:

Bernard Rachet talks to BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme (at 2:57:12) about a new School study suggesting half of all cancer patients will now live for at least a decade after being diagnosed, but that survival differs depending on age: “What these new results show is a persistent age gap in survival, and that’s something quite important in the UK, because this age gap has reduced quite a lot in the last 30 years in other countries.”

Manuela Quaresma is quoted in the The Mirror discussing the study: “Although survival for some cancers has improved dramatically over the past 40 years, others are lagging far behind. More investment is urgently needed to improve early diagnosis and provide the best treatment, including more specialist surgeons, for poor-prognosis cancers.” It is also covered in over 140 other publications including The Asian Age and numerous regional newspapers around the UK such as Yorkshire Post and Basingstoke Gazette.

Andrew Bastawrous and Stewart Jordan talk to BBC Click about their portable eye examination kit, PEEK (at 7:10): “We examined over 2000 patients on an expensive desktop retinal camera. Those same people were also separately examined by a healthcare worker using PEEK. All the images from both sets of cameras were independently graded at Moorfields Eye Hospital, and the data from that shows that the tools are very comparable… What was more interesting is that the person obtaining the images using PEEK didn’t have to be an eye care worker.”  PEEK also features on CNN, Financial Times and in Digital Trends.

Vikram Patel speaks to the New York Times about his research in Goa, which aims to combat mental health problems and depression by training ordinary women in the local community: “The idea is to really make it go viral… This is a human resource widely available in every population. These are natural social networks women have traditionally used to address issues of childbirth. These are not alien ideas — that’s why we chose them.”

Michel Coleman is interviewed by NPR about his recent study into global cancer survival published last week in The Lancet. The interview is syndicated to regional stations across the US: “The good news is that in most countries survival from some of the commonest cancers has been improving. There are many countries in Latin America for example, and South East Asia where survival has improved quite markedly. Even in Mongolia there have been quite sizeable increases in survival from some cancers.” The study also features in Correio Braziliense.

Will Nutland writes for New Statesman on World AIDS Day, examining why HIV prevention drugs should be made available on the NHS: The study found that men taking a daily pill of Truvada almost halved their risk of getting HIV, compared with men in the trial who received a placebo pill. Men who took their pills regularly and consistently reduced that risk by over 90%.”

Magdalena Harris’ lecture to the HIT Hot Topics conference about Intravenous drug users is quoted by Aidsmap: “We wanted to learn from the experts. We wanted to learn from people who inject drugs who’ve managed to avoid hepatitis C… Harm reduction needs to pay more attention to the pleasures and pragmatics of using drugs.”

Hannah Kuper writes for SciDev.net about some of the negative effects of improved HIV care: Even in low- and middle-income countries, nearly two thirds of people who need antiretroviral drugs receive them. As a result, deaths from AIDS-related causes have plummeted, even in the worst-affected parts of Africa. This is fantastic. But it means HIV is morphing from a fatal disease into a chronic condition. Doctors are beginning to notice that, although people are now surviving with HIV, they are often developing disabilities.”

John Edmunds talks to Nature about hepatitis vaccines: “It’s not necessarily the highest priority when compared with other changes to the vaccine programme that we could and should introduce… In the long run, the hepatitis B vaccine will be one of the most cost-effective vaccines. But it takes a very long time to achieve those gains.”

Laith Yakob is quoted by The Daily Mail in an article focusing on the Chikungunya virus, which has infected over 200 UK citizens visiting the Carribean: “For most people within three to seven days they’ll have fever, then joint pain in the hands and wrists can persist for weeks or even months. The joint pain can spread and can be quite debilitating.”

Jo Lines speaks to The Guardian Global Development Professionals network about the resurgence of malaria in the Amazon due to illegal gold mining: “There is a large number of miners drilling holes in search of minerals. These holes with stagnant water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The majority of self-employed miners are mobile, and they are often reluctant to present themselves to official medical facilities due to immigration and work permit issues. They often live in cheap, crowded places without walls, where it is not easy to hang a bednet.”

Oliver Cumming’s research from last year – looking at the economic effects of open defecation – is featured in Gulf News.

Martin McKee is mentioned in The Lancet, in an article discussing the recent televised advertisement of e-cigarettes, and tobacco control in the UK.

The School is mentioned in a China Daily article looking at the increased collaboration between European and Chinese research Institutions.

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