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Receding Glacier Causes Immense Canadian River to Vanish in Four Days


A view of the ice canyon that now carries meltwater from the Kaskawulsh glacier, seen here on the right, away from the Slims river and toward the Kaskawulsh river. Photograph: Dan Shugar/University of Washington Tacoma

First ever observed case of ‘river piracy’ saw the Slims river disappear as intense glacier melt suddenly diverted its flow into another watercourse - by Hannah Devlin - April 17, 2017

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The abrupt and unexpected disappearance of the Slims river, which spanned up to 150 metres at its widest points, is the first observed case of “river piracy”, in which the flow of one river is suddenly diverted into another.



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Global Warming Cited as Wildfires Increase in Fragile Boreal Forest

The boreal region stretches across the Northern Hemisphere through Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. Boreal forests are increasingly affected by fire and climate change.

Sources: Natural Resources Canada; Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; U.S. Geological Survey; University of Maryland - By The New York Times

Scientists say the near-destruction of Fort McMurray last week by a wildfire is the latest indication that the vital boreal forest is at risk from climate change. - by JUSTIN GILLIS and HENRY FOUNTAIN - May 10, 2016

Scientists have been warning for decades that climate change is a threat to the immense tracts of forest that ring the Northern Hemisphere, with rising temperatures, drying trees and earlier melting of snow contributing to a growing number of wildfires.

The near-destruction of a Canadian city last week by a fire that sent almost 90,000 people fleeing for their lives is grim proof that the threat to these vast stands of spruce and other resinous trees, collectively known as the boreal forest, is real. And scientists say a large-scale loss of the forest could have profound consequences for efforts to limit the damage from climate change.

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Physicians: Global Vaccine Development Fund Could Save Billions

PHARMACEUTICAL PROCESSING by  Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs   Aug. 6, 2015

Ebola is a preventable disease, and yet a safe and effective vaccine has not been deployed. As with many vaccines, financial barriers persist: pharmaceutical companies see high costs with limited market potential, and government support is lacking. But there may be a solution to this vaccine crisis with the ability to save at-risk populations, according to a perspective piece written by physicians based at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and the Wellcome Trust.

The article, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, proposes the creation of a $2 billion global vaccine-development fund - supported by governments, foundations and pharmaceutical companies - that would carry promising vaccines through development to deployment. With initial support, the global vaccine fund could help make vaccines available for emergency use.

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Experimental Ebola drug shelved; study explores virus clearance


Tekmira Pharmaceuticals  announced that it has suspended development of TKM-Ebola, a drug cocktail that showed disappointing human trial results in West Africa, as a convalescent plasma trial at a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) facility in Guinea proceeded with no ill effects in patients so far...

In suspending TKM-Ebola development, the company said that a joint reevaluation of its contract with the US Department of Defense is under way.

In another development, MSF said a convalescent serum trial at its facility in Nongo, Guinea, has enrolled 101 people over the last few months, with no ill effects reported so far, according to a Jul 17 update on the outbreak. Patients at the Nongo treatment unit have the option to receive plasma donated by Ebola survivors....

Meanwhile, detailed testing at a Swiss hospital on a 43-year-old doctor infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone found that viral decay occurred in two phases, once starting 72 hours after symptom onset before any antiviral interventions, with acceleration in viral load decay after ZMAb infusion and oral favipiravir treatments began..

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Ebola outbreak help extends from space

Telemedicine and innovative devices could help reduce unnecessary exposures to virus

(Two items, scroll down.)

CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORP.                                                                                 July 19, 2015

Space technology such as satellite images and telemedicine could play a bigger role in helping to control the Ebola outbreak that's killed more than 11,250 people, a Canadian doctor says.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield holds the Microflow experiment to test how the instrument counts blood cells in orbit. Such space spinoffs have the potential to be applied to outbreaks of infectious diseases on Earth. (NASA)

This week's issue of the medical journal Lancet Infectious Disease includes a commentary titled "Help from Above — outer space and the fight against Ebola."

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Trial of Canadian Ebola drug stopped; no overall benefit shown

CANADIAN PRESS  by  Helen Branswell                       June 19, 2015

TORONTO -- A Canadian company that had been developing an Ebola drug says a clinical trial of the experimental product has been stopped.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals says the trial was halted because it seemed clear that continuing was not likely to show that the drug works.

The drug is called TKM-Ebola. It was being tested with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.

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Readability of Ebola Information on Websites of Public Health Agencies, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Europe

CDC IED JOURNAL  by    Enrique Castro-Sánchez , Elpiniki Spanoudakis, and Alison H. Holmes    Volume 21, Number 7- July 2015                                          

 Public involvement in efforts to control the current Ebola virus disease epidemic requires understandable information. We reviewed the readability of Ebola information from public health agencies in non–Ebola-affected areas. A substantial proportion of citizens would have difficulty understanding existing information, which would potentially hinder effective health-seeking behaviors....

Several factors, including readability of information provided (8), can help reduce health literacy deficits...It is recommended that health information materials should be written at a level typically understandable by an 11-year-old person ... anxiety or panic attributed to a highly virulent infection, such as Ebola, might hinder comprehension of related information (11).

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US regulators recall 10-minute Ebola test

AFP                                                                                April  23, 2015
Miami  - US regulators have issued an international recall for a 10-minute Ebola blood test made by a California-based company, saying it has not been proven to work and could put lives at risk.

"A recall has been issued for the LuSys Laboratories, Inc., Ebola Virus One-Step Test Kits because the FDA has not cleared or approved the kits for use or sale," said the Food and Drug Administration in a statement emailed to reporters on Thursday.

"The results obtained from these test kits have not demonstrated to be accurate and should not be used as in vitro diagnostic tests for Ebola infection."

Contacted by AFP, a company representative in San Diego said early trials have shown the test to be 86 percent accurate. The problem with the FDA came down to a labeling error, he said. The equipment had not been properly labeled "for research purposes only."

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UN envoy: Expect Ebola vaccine in coming months

INQUIRER.NET  by Kristine Angeli Sabillo                  APRIL 8, 2015

MANILA --As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa winds down, the United Nations is optimistic that a vaccine against the deadly virus will be made available in the next several months.

“Clinical trials have have now been undertaken of candidate vaccines, two of them. They are now at an advanced stage,” Dr. David Nabarro, UN secretary general special envoy on Ebola, told reporters in Manila on Wednesday.

“I believe that we will have a vaccine against Ebola that is available and can be used particularly for doctors and nurses who provide treatment for people with the disease in the coming months,” he added.

According to the World Health Organization, the two vaccine candidates undergoing efficacy trials are ChAd3-ZEBOV, developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and rVSV-ZEBOV, developed by NewLink Genetics and Merck Vaccines USA. The first is being developed in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the second with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Ebola Vaccine 2015: Guinea Seen As Best Hope For Preventative Drug Trials, But Time Is Running Out

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES by Philip Roth       April 7, 2015

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Health officials’ best bet for discovering a vaccine for Ebola lies with the West African country of Guinea, where the outbreak that has killed an estimated 10,500 over the past year began, and the place that researchers largely ignored when it came time for drug trials. As researchers race to find a vaccine before the window of opportunity closes – essentially, before the epidemic is brought to an end -- scientists with the World Health Organization are beginning to test a vaccine in Guinea manufactured by researchers in the U.S. and Canada.


The race to find a vaccine for Ebola is in its final lap. Pictured, research assistant Georgina Bowyer works on a vaccine for Ebola at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, southern England, Jan. 16, 2015. Reuters

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