JAN 21, 2017 02:25 PM PST

Establishing an Ebola Lab in Sierra Leone

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The following video from the American Society for Microbiology is a September 2016 interview with Professor Ian Goodlfellow, the Head of Virology at Cambridge University, who traveled to Sierra Leone several times in order to establish a laboratory in response to an Ebola outbreak that occurred in 2014.

Creating a reliable molecular resource center is critical to an effective response to Ebola outbreaks. It used to take months for samples to be collected, shipped to a laboratory for analysis, and then to get those results relayed back to the field to inform treatment and methodologies. Experts agree that generating data in the field, and then disseminating that material to the world in order to find solutions, is the best approach to combating outbreaks.

From a Cambridge University interview with Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust: "We've learned many painful lessons from the Ebola outbreak, not least of which is that as a scientific community we must become less secretive with the data that is generated." The collective expertise of the world's infectious disease experts is more powerful than any single lab, and the best way of tapping into this is to enhance the capacity to generate the data in the countries affected, rather than having to fly samples out to other countries and then to make the data openly and safely available, as soon as possible."
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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