Giving hospitals around Germany a rapid and accurate diagnostic tool like BioFire and a stockpile of an HIV drug lamivudine which was proven to help Ebola patients in Liberia if they were given treatment quickly, Germany can take some effective steps to prevent its spread and avert any mass vaccinations.
By making controlling borders its election theme, the CSU could oust Merkel and regain voters.
The deal Merkel just struck with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (with an Opus Dei and UN background) would be an ideal excuse to end the coalition. To drive home to voters that the CSU stands for the popular position of contolling borders, leading politicians could draw out the drama with theatrical visits to Germany’s borders, scare mongering over Ebola (warranted) backed up by a social media campaign.
A deal was struck between the governments of Germany and Spain last Monday in which Spain agreed to take back migrants that traveled north to Germany, but who had first been registered in Spain. The deal came into effect on Saturday and the process of returning each migrant will take 48 hours. However it is currently only in effect on the part of the German border between Austria and Germany, a route very few migrants from Spain would travel to Germany because it is too far east.
The new flow of migrants into Spain has reignited concerns in Germany. The liberal party (FDP) were the first to criticise Merkel’s statement in Spain as not going far enough. They, as well as Conservative MPs, the CSU sister party believe a lot more needs to be done to curb migration into Europe, such as strengthening Europe’s external borders. The interior ministry has provisional plans to control German borders along France, Benelux, and Switzerland to control migrants travelling north into Germany, and Seehofer is putting pressure on Merkel and the Social Democrats to establish his controversial ‘Anker’ reception centres for migrants across Germany. As Merkel heads back to the office, migration still remains an issue dividing the political spectrum.
Dr. Gorbee Logan has given the drug, lamivudine, to 15 Ebola patients, and all but two survived. That’s about a 13% mortality rate.
“I’m sure that when [patients] present early, this medicine can help,” Logan said. “I’ve proven it right in my center.”
Logan is mindful that lamivudine can cause liver and other problems, but he says it’s worth the risk since Ebola is so deadly.
Logan said he got the idea to try lamivudine when he read in scientific journals that HIV and Ebola replicate inside the body in much the same way.
“Ebola is a brainchild of HIV,” he said. “It’s a destructive strain of HIV.”
At first he tried a drug called acyclovir, which is often given to HIV patients to treat infections that occur with their weakened immune systems. But it didn’t seem to be effective. Then he tried lamivudine on a health care worker who’d become ill, and within a day or two he showed signs of improvement and survived.
Lamivudine is a nucleocide analog, and other drugs in this class are being studied to treat Ebola.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new diagnostic tests that can detect Ebola from blood, urine or saliva samples in as little as an hour. The tests are made by BioFire Defense, a Salt Lake City-based company, and can be used in the company’s FilmArray machine, a device that can look for Ebola virus genes in the blood. In the U.S., 300 hospitals already use the machine to detect a range of infectious agents.
One test is designed for commercial use in hospitals and laboratories, while the other is approved only for labs designated by the Department of Defense.
While quick diagnosis of Ebola is critical to identifying patients infected with the virus and providing them with health care that can save their lives, officials at Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) say that the BioFire tests do come with some disadvantages in the field. Currently, lab technicians use a gene-based assay to pick up genetic fingerprints of the Ebola virus. The test takes four hours, but the current technologies can run multiple samples from different patients at the same time, allowing clinics like MSF to test up to 70 people a day. While the BioFire platform can spit out results in one hour, it can only run one sample at a time, so to maintain the high volume of testing at outbreak centers, says Erwan Piriou, laboratory advisor at MSF, “we would need multiple devices to reach the same throughout in a day. I feel in that sense the device doesn’t solve
The big advantage to the BioFire platform, however, is that it requires less handling of the samples that could potentially be infectious. At field clinics in West Africa, testing currently occurs in small tents or facilities outside of the Ebola treatment areas. Ebola treatment areas require health care workers to don full personal protective equipment that reveals no skin that could potentially be exposed to virus. Health care workers draw blood and sterilize the outside of the vial with chlorine to kill any virus that may have contaminated it. The vial is then brought to the testing area, where technicians work in glove boxes—transparent, sealed boxes with built-in gloves so that technicians can destroy the virus. Once the virus is deactivated, the sample is put through a molecular process to amplify the viral genes and then analyzed for presence of Ebola RNA.