11 – 17 July 2019

Peter Piot is interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (1hm 37m) about the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC, and the news that a new case was diagnosed this week in Goma. Peter said: “It was due to happen and it will happen again and that is why I am very concerned that this is still not considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Once it takes hold in a city like Goma with two million people, from there it can spread to the rest of DRC, but also neighbouring countries.”

This week Peter also issued a statement about the Ebola epidemic. Peter said, “We at LSHTM commend the major efforts of all local, national, and international actors who are tirelessly working to save lives in North Kivu and Ituri. While these efforts have certainly helped slow the disease’s spread, a change in strategy and intensified efforts are urgently needed. From stronger community engagement, to strengthened diagnosis and real time sequencing, to ring vaccination and primary prevention through broader vaccination in the community – we must use every possible approach. This is why we very much regret the recent decision of the DRC Minister of Health to rule out the deployment of a second vaccine.”

Peter’s comments were picked up by The Telegraph, The Guardian and Science.

Stat News also spoke to Peter, for a piece focusing on the decision by the DRC Minister of Health not to deploy the second vaccine.  

Heidi Larson is featured in a Guardian piece exploring how vaccine hesitancy is ‘contagious’ and what factors could be contributing to the global crisis in vaccine confidence. Heidi said: “There’s the group that didn’t start as an anti-vaccine group, but is now part of that portfolio, intent on raising their children in the most natural, organic manner.”

Helen Weiss provides expert comment to The Telegraph on new research looking and the efficacy of menstrual cups. Helen said: “This is a much-needed review of the use of menstrual cups globally. This study is the first to systematically review experiences of using cups in terms of leakage, cost and safety, and showed that they are an effective and safe alternative to other menstrual products.”

Beate Kampmann speaks to the Mail on Sunday about whether men up to the age of 25 should get the HPV vaccine. Beate said: “The vaccine is most effective before acquisition of the HPV virus, which is usually before people become sexually active. Older boys who are not sexually active would get the benefits, given they would not have encountered HPV.”

Andy Haines is quoted in an opinion piece by Monash University which explores preparing the health sector for the global climate emergency. Andy said:We think the impact is more difficult to quantify because there is also population displacement and a range of additional factors like food production and crop yield, and the increase in heat that will limit labour productivity from farmers in tropical regions that wasn’t taken into account among other factors.”

Sally Bloomfield, Honorary at LSHTM comments in The Telegraph about whether flu masks are effective in preventing viruses. Sally said: “While masks have been proven to work during the flu pandemic, it must be a specific virus mask to have any affect. There is a risk we will breath in cold and flu germs from people and that’s not much we can do about except wearing a medical-grade mask. We can also get colds and flu by getting them onto our hands and then touching our mouths and our nose, particularly rubbing the inside of the nose, and the eyes.”

Martin McKee writes an opinion piece for BMJ about UK politics in 2019.

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter account sharing news that following evidence from the WOMAN trial, Tranexamic Acid has now been added to the WHO essential medicines list for postpartum haemorrhage.

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