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Transform Care January 20, 2015

Davos Preview: Experts on Ebola Global Response to Share Priorities

Oliver Wyman’s “Responding to Ebola” briefing this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, will feature a distinguished panel of experts both on the ground and leading global coordination. Panelists include Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the Gavi Alliance, which has been at the forefront of vaccine development and delivery across the world; Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy on Ebola for the United Nations; Dr. Hans Rosling, a star statistician who co-founded the Gapminder Foundation and is now working with the Liberian leadership on their response effort; and Dr. Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. Find below a selection of their recent comments on the ongoing crisis:

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, specializes in infectious disease epidemiology and global health. Last month, the Gavi Board endorsed plans that could see up to $300 million committed to procure Ebola vaccines for affected countries. Learn more:

The UN News Centre caught up with Dr. David Nabarro, United Nations Special Envoy for Ebola, in a January 16 interview in New York between his latest visit to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone and a trip around Europe where he will visit the World Economic Forum and national capitals. An excerpt:

I’ve been on six visits to the region. When I started in August, it was frightening. We really didn’t know what was going on. I would say to people: ‘We don’t know what the next few weeks are going to be like,’ ‘We don’t know how many cases there will be altogether,’ ‘We don’t know how much suffering and misery we’re going to see.’ and we were bracing ourselves for some very bad news. And there was bad news. September was worse, and October was difficult. But in the last few weeks, we’ve seen a big shift, a sense of self-confidence a sense that it can be beaten. It started in early December in Liberia, some parts of the country which had been so badly affected beforehand reporting near zero or zero cases; other parts of the country at least beginning to feel better. But even in early December it was scary. And in Sierra Leone in early December was very scary indeed. But the big shifts in Liberia and Sierra Leone and even in Guinea have really only been since the new year started and I feel an incredible sense among everybody of ‘Yeh!’ not we’ve done it but ‘Yeh, we can do it!’ 

Dr. Hans Rosling, a statistician famous for his TED Talk charts of global population, health, and income data, co-founded the Stockholm-based Gapminder Foundation to advance a fact-based worldview and to make data easy to understand. Rosling has released a series of informational videos on Ebola. The latest in “Hans Rosling’s Factpod” playlist covers Ebola contact tracing:

Last week Johnson & Johnson announced the formation of consortia with leading global research institutions and non-government organizations to work in conjunction with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to accelerate the development of  its Ebola vaccine regimen. In a related blog post, Dr. Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, wrote:

Testing of a new vaccine regimen is only one part of the equation. We need to ensure that if the vaccine is approved by appropriate health authorities, no time is wasted in making it available to the people at greatest risk. Because every day counts  we are substantially accelerating the production of our vaccine regimen to ensure that if the vaccine is approved,  it will be immediately available. To date, we have produced more than 400,000 regimens of the prime-boost vaccine for use in large-scale clinical trials by April. All of us – across governments, health authorities, NGOs, and industry – are dedicated to working together and pushing as hard and as quickly as we can to help fight Ebola’s spread. Through this unprecedented collaboration among the global health community, I’m hopeful we will meet our goal as fast as possible so that those at greatest risk may be protected for the long term. 

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