If Ebola erupts again tomorrow, will we be any better prepared? Only if we improve the way we study, treat and contain the disease, public health officials told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Jose, California, last week.“We have to identify how we will move things forward, so we will have things much more ready to go when the next outbreak occurs,” says Michael Kurilla at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. The institute is trying to speed up research by creating a common standard for methodology and materials, making it easier to compare data.
The recent outbreak in West Africa helped develop new approaches that could be reused, such as installing Plexiglas walls so that healthcare workers could check on patients without wearing full protective gear. It also generated a wealth of clinical data about the virus and its long-term effects on survivors that will need further study, the meeting heard. “It’s only now that we are starting to follow those patients regularly,” said Iza Ciglenecki of Médecins Sans Frontières.
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