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Ebola Fight: Gates Foundation Gives $5.7 Million

After World Bank has approved a grant, an aid of $5.7 million is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation too for the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease.

The foundation has decided to support efforts in Guinea and other Ebola-affected countries to scale up the production and evaluation of convalescent plasma and other convalescent blood products as potential therapies for people infected with the Ebola virus.

Various drug candidates will also be evaluated, including the experimental antiviral drug Brincidofovir, the foundation said on Tuesday in a statement.

The programme will focus on treatments derived from the blood of survivors. “The grant will also be used to evaluate new experimental drugs for Ebola,” said a statement issued by the foundation.

More than 5,000 people have died in the current Ebola outbreak — almost all of them in West Africa.

There is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine for the Ebola virus. Hospital treatment is based on giving patients intravenous fluids to stop dehydration and antibiotics to fight infections. There are, however, several experimental vaccines and drug treatments for Ebola under development, but these have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

International medical humanitarian organisation Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) had announced last week that it would host clinical trials in three Ebola treatment centres in West Africa in December.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has approved an aid of $285 million to finance the three West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis.

The grant is part of the nearly 1 billion dollars of finance previously announced by the World Bank for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, reports Xinhua.

The additional financing will enable the three countries to deploy additional national and international health workers, scale up community-based care and community engagement for early detection of suspected Ebola cases, the World Bank in a statement Tuesday.

A previous World Bank analysis showed that if Ebola continues to surge in these three countries and spreads to neighbouring countries, the two-year regional financial impact would reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015.

According to the World Health Organization, as of Nov 14, 14,413 Ebola cases have been registered in eight countries since the outbreak, with 5,177 deaths.

(With inputs from IANS)

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