20 December 2014 – 9 January 2015

Ebola media coverage:

Following his visit to Sierra Leone in December, Peter Piot is interviewed by the BBC about the outbreak: “I think we are going to see the peak in the next few weeks, but also we should be mindful that although the number of cases is starting to decline… this will be an epidemic with a very long and bumpy tail. We need to be ready for a long effort, a sustained effort for probably the rest of 2015.” The interview is broadcast on BBC World Service radio, BBC 4 radio, BBC TV and BBC online. His comments are also reported by Reuters. Peter Piot is also interviewed by Bloomberg following his trip to Sierra Leone.

Peter Piot speaks to the Independent about what the UK must do to guard against pandemics, and about what lessons the world has to learn from the Ebola outbreak: “The lesson for the future is: act early, act immediately… I also think it’s time the UK and Europe had a well-trained corps of people who are specialists in outbreak control but underpinned by strong research and science. We don’t have that and that makes us vulnerable… We don’t have this ‘epidemic intelligence service’, you don’t want to depend on information coming from the US. CDC is a great organisation, but we need that capacity ourselves as a nation. That’s a national security issue.”

Peter Piot also speaks to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times about the WHO’s response to the crisis, and The Guardian about the need to be better prepared in future.

David Mabey speaks to BBC News about the unpredictability of treating Ebola patients, following the news that Pauline Carrfekey, the British nurse being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London, is now in a critical condition: “A proportion of people don’t get severely ill; Will Pooley was an example – he was never very sick and he recovered fully within a few days. The critical period is in the first four or five days after it’s diagnosed, because, you know, if you are going to get worse then that’s when it happens, and I’m very sorry to hear that seems to have been the case.”

David Mabey also talks to BBC News for a piece on how Ebola compares to other diseases: “The mortality rate from previous outbreaks is generally over 50% in Africa. Very few other viruses approach that apart from rabies which is 100% and Marburg which is in the same ballpark as Ebola.”

He is also quoted by the Independent and some regional newspapers about the likelihood that the UK will see more cases.

 David Heymann speaks to Nature about the use of convalescent plasma therapy in fighting Ebola: “Clinical trials of convalescent plasma should be considered in other emerging infections.”

Researchers from the School criticise the International Monetary Fund, saying that their policies hampered coordinated response to the Ebola outbreak. Receives widespread global coverage with pieces including Reuters, Le MondeDaily Mail, ITV, Telegraph, Bloomberg, International Business Times, Daily Times, Arise News, Punch (Nigeria), Japan Times, Vice News, CTV News, Huffington Post.

Martin McKee also co-authors a blog post about the research for Washington Post.

Kara Hanson speaks to Bloomberg about the need for investment in health systems: “Ebola provides a very sharp focus on why health systems matter.”

The New York Times refers to Ian Robert’s Lancet comment piece on Ebola treatment from December, in an article about the use of intravenous therapy in the treatment of Ebola patients in West Africa. Also covered by the Seattle Times.

The Lancet publishes a letter, co-signed by School researchers Clare Wenham and Preslava Stoeva, calling upon all WHO Member States to recommit themselves to strengthening global outbreak alert and response by sustainably investing in the WHO, its departments, and personnel.

Adam Kucharski speaks to Computer Weekly about creating a Monte Carlo modelling analysis to look at the Ebola outbreak: “Human behaviour is one of the things that is very difficult to incorporate into a model, especially during an outbreak. In these cases, it may be better to employ a more abstract method, pared down to only the number of cases per week in the population, as well as the population size, but ignoring the geography and details about interactions between individual people.”

Peter Piot’s meeting with Sierra Leone’s President Koroma is featured in All Africa, where he calls for strong partnership from government and continuous collaboration with the School.

In an article about the outbreak, the New York Times references a September NEJM editorial co-authored by Peter Piot, in which he calls the outbreak an ‘avoidable crisis’.

Other media coverage:

Michel Coleman speaks to The Sunday Times for a big feature on the Concord-2 study on global cancer survival surveillance: “The survival for cancers in the UK is not systematically lower than everywhere else, but it is lower for some cancers than some other countries and in some cases developing countries.”

Anne Mills comments at the Universal Health Coverage Day event at the School on 12 December are reported in an article on IRIN: “The core principle of universal health coverage is that people contribute according to their ability to pay, and benefit according to health need. A good financing system needs to be equitable – richer groups should contribute more than poorer groups. Secondly, it needs to put minimal reliance on payment at the point of use; payment needs to be collected in advance. And thirdly, financing should be pooled as much as possible and not segmented into many different pools for different population groups.”

Times Higher Education covers the New Year Honours 2015, and reports that Anne Mills has been made a dame. Also mentioned in the Guardian.

Martin McKee writes in the Guardian about co-payments for NHS care: Simon Jenkins, in advocating co-payments for core NHS care, has resurrected what is referred to in health systems research as the classic zombie policy. The arguments against it are overwhelming: costing more to collect than it raises, deterring those in real need, and creating boundless perverse incentives, so that it has, quite rightly, repeatedly been killed off.”

Brendan Wren is interviewed by Press Association for a feature about campylobacter, and the risk to consumers’ Christmas dinners: Quite frequently this is infected poultry, and at the moment, two out of three poultry are infected with this bacteria, and very small doses, about 100 cells, the size of a pin head, is enough to give you severe diarrhoea and disease.” The video is features on the Irish Examiner.

Honorary Professor, Paul Hayes, writes for The Conversation UK, about why most people don’t become drug addicts.

 Flusurvey features in the Daily Mail and Time Magazine.

 Brendan Wren speaks to SciDev.net about figures suggesting that antimicrobial resistance could kill 10 million people a year by 2015.

 An update on the School’s Monkeybar research, using drones to track Malaria carrying Macaques, features in The Sun Daily.

Andrew Bastawrous features in a Future Mag video discussing PEEK, the portable eye examination kit.

Anne Mills speaks to The Lancet about the results of the Research Excellence Framework.

A study by School researchers last year into the link between obesity and cancer is mentioned in a Telegraph article.

Findings on men paying for sex from the National Survey for Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, co-led by the School, are referenced in a BBC Magazine article about the Numbers of 2014. It was also included in the BBC’s More or Less programme.

Sandy Cairncross speaks to Environmental Health Perspectives about fighting waterborne disease in emergency situations, and the need to use positive messages to change behaviour: “Telling people if they didn’t wash their hands they’ll get diarrhea and die—these doom-laden negative messages related to the threat to someone’s health don’t stop people doing unhealthy things or get them to do healthy things.”

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