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MEDICAL: DISEASES: EBOLA VIRUS : AFRICA : COUNTRIES: UNITED STATES : RESEARCH: The Fight on Ebola Continues in the Lab

David P. Dillard
 

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MEDICAL: DISEASES: EBOLA VIRUS :

AFRICA :

COUNTRIES: UNITED STATES :

RESEARCH:

The Fight on Ebola Continues in the Lab

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The Fight on Ebola Continues in the Lab

Carol Han

Tuesday, October 7th 2014

USAID

http://blog.usaid.gov/2014/10/
the-fight-on-ebola-continues-in-the-lab/

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/nfpotv7

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In a heavily forested area about 65 miles east of Monrovia, Liberia, statues of stone monkeys keep vigil over a sprawling campus of buildings that has seen better days. The Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research (LIBR) was established in the 1970s as a premier research facility to develop scientific breakthroughs for a variety of viral infections, including hepatitis. The rusted, empty animal cages serve as a reminder of the past research conducted here.

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Now, the facility finds itself drawn into an epidemiological battle against another outbreak, this time, the Ebola virus. LIBR is one of only a few laboratories in Liberia where Ebola specimens are sent to be tested. Due to the spiralling number of Ebola cases in the region, boosting LIBRs laboratory testing capacity has been a top priority for a team of medical and disaster experts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

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People are dependent on these test results, said Gary Wes Carter, an emergency management chief with USAMRIID. The longer a sample sits here, the longer a doctor in the field goes without an answer needed to make critical decisions about patient care.

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Since April, American laboratory and disease control experts have been working at LIBR to process Ebola samples and train local technicians. When the rate of Ebola infections spiked in June, more equipment and personnel were brought in. As a result, LIBRs lab processing capacity almost doubled from 40 specimens a day to more than 70. The goal is to eventually be able to test approximately 100 specimens a day, with assistance from the USAID-led Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) and the USAID Mission in Liberia.

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USAIDs disaster response and development experts are working to upgrade the laboratory facility by improving specimen containment, providing improved internet access, renovating hygiene facilities, repairing plumbing, and working with contractors to rewire the building so that it receives a steady source of electricity.

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There are a number of projects underway, said DART Logistics Officer Sergio Solis. Working together, we could make LIBR not only more efficient, but more sustainable for the Liberian scientists and laboratory technicians who will be running the facility.

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Laboratory experts with the USAMRIID agree that partnerships are the key to combatting the Ebola outbreak.

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We couldnt have made the lab sustainable in the long-term without the assistance of USAID, said Carter. I have never been to an outbreak response where there has been this much intergovernmental collaboration. This has been amazing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Carol Han is a Press Officer for the Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team

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Related Links

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Visit our Ebola Content Hub: On the Front Lines of an Epidemic for more stories and photos and view our photo collection

http://blog.usaid.gov/ebola

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Get details about our Grand Challenge for Development: Fighting Ebola

http://www.usaid.gov/grandchallenges/ebola

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Find More Information on how USAID is Responding to the Ebola Crisis

http://www.usaid.gov/ebola/

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Get Volunteer Information for qualified medical professionals

http://www.usaid.gov/ebola/volunteers


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