The struggle to defeat Ebola virus disease continues globally, although that effort may not always make the headlines. To catch up on what you may have missed, here are some notable news items and journal articles published over the past few weeks that are worth a second look.

A study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases showed that responding to the challenges of confronting both the Ebola and Lassa fever viruses in West Africa will require continued investments in the development of countermeasures (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic agents, and diagnostic assays), infrastructure, and human resources.

The Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL), a U.S.-Liberia joint Clinical Research Partnership, has opened PREVAIL IV , a treatment trial for men who have survived Ebola virus disease (EVD) but continue to have evidence of Ebola virus genetic material, RNA, in their semen.

A report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) revealed that the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation was able to prevent the transmission of Ebola virus within and beyond a family cluster by identifying contacts of a deceased woman who tested positive for the virus, monitoring them for Ebola signs and symptoms, ensuring timely treatment for anyone with Ebola, and conducting an epidemiologic investigation to identify the source of infection.

Lumbar punctures in three Ebola patients, presenting with behavioral modifications with ideation slowing and aggressiveness, found Ebola virus in all cerebrospinal fluids . The authors said this discovery contributes to the discussion of the concept of a specific Ebola virus encephalitis.

Researchers examined antibodies from Ebola or Marburg disease survivors 1-14 years post recovery and found persistent levels of antibodies to glycoprotein, recombinant nucleoprotein, and viral protein 40. The authors said survival of infection caused by one species imparted cross-reactive antibody responses to other filoviruses.

Yisheng Biopharma Co., a company focusing on biological vaccines and pharmaceutical products, and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases announced preliminary positive animal results of an Ebola virus-like particle–based vaccine in combination with PIKA adjuvant, a Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) agonist.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a supplement to MMWR chronicling the major aspects of the agency’s response to the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The reports summarized the CDC’s work, primarily during the first year and a half of the epidemic.

A study in eLife employed new human and animal occurrence data to expand upon the way in which potential bat EVD reservoir species are incorporated into a zoonotic niche map. The authors stated that it represents the most up-to-date estimate of the extent of EVD zoonotic risk in Africa.

New research in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases spotlights several potential host species and geographical regions as high-probability targets for future surveillance of Ebola and other filoviruses.

Soligenix Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases, announced positive preliminary proof-of-concept results on the development of a heat stable subunit Ebola vaccine.

A systematic review published in the American Journal of Infection Control of existing research pertinent to EVD and social media found that the utility of social media research – particularly focusing on Twitter and YouTube – to public health practitioners is warranted.

Governments and global health care organizations have a moral imperative to provide the required medical care to Ebola virus disease survivors , but must also seize the opportunity to collect evidence necessary to inform future guidelines for effective and safe medical care, researchers stated in a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

The pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck announced that its investigational vaccine for Ebola Zaire, V920 was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the Food and Drug Administration, and that the European Medicines Agency has granted the vaccine PRIME (PRIority MEdicines) status.

A study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases did not find strong evidence supporting respiratory or fomite-associated transmission of EVD in West Africa.

Investigators demonstrated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of FILORAB1, a recombinant, bivalent, inactivated rabies virus–based Ebola virus vaccine, in rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys.

Cellular polyamines and hypusination are required for Ebolavirus gene expression and replication, a finding with implications for development of Ebola therapeutics, according to a study published in mBio.

The QuickNavi-Ebola immunochromatography (IC) assay is expected to be a useful tool for rapid diagnosis of Ebola virus disease, according to a study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

rpizzi@frontlinemedcom.com

On Twitter @richpizzi

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