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Oxford scientists receive medals for tackling Ebola

The Ebola crisis has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people and has been described as the worst health emergency seen in modern times.

But as the disease swept across West Africa teams of scientists at Oxford University worked tirelessly to develop an effective treatment.

At a conference many were awarded the Ebola Medal for service, but they also looked at whether they can react even faster in the face of another outbreak. Juliette Fletcher reports

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  1. Tom Savvides

Paramedic talks of his time in Ebola treatment centre

He's been a frontline paramedic for thirty five years. But now Chris Williams from Sussex has used his medical training to help Ebola patients in West Africa. Chris has just returned home after spending six weeks at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone. He was part of a group of British volunteers deployed to the region. Tom Savvides talks to Chris Williams and Dr Ben Neuman at the University of Reading.

Ebola aid worker monitored at Surrey hospital

High level isolation apparatus are used in hospitals to treat people potentially exposed to Ebola Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

An aid worker potentially exposed to Ebola is being monitored at a Surrey Hospital after arriving from Sierra Leone.

It's reported the volunteer was transferred from Gatwick Airport to East Surrey Hospital in Redhill last night to be assessed.

Public Health England says the individual has not been diagnosed with Ebola, does not currently have any symptoms, and their risk of developing the infection remains low.

The patient will be monitored for any symptoms for the remainder of their 21-day incubation period, in line with standard procedures for returning workers.

Dr Jenny Harries, regional director for Public Health England, said: 'The risk to the public posed by these and indeed any of the returning workers is extremely low. We are confident that all appropriate public health actions have been taken, and will continue to be taken, to support these individuals and to protect the public's health.'

The aid worker arrived from Sierra Leone at Gatwick Airport Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Reserves leave Brize Norton to help Ebola victims

UK Reserves prepare to leave for Sierra Lione Credit: MOD

This morning saw the first UK reserves and 100 of their regular counterparts depart for Sierra Leone where they will help to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

UK Reserves prepare to leave for Sierra Lione Credit: MOD

The regular and reserve personnel from across the three Services departed from RAF Brize Norton alongside members of the Canadian military.

UK Reserves prepare to leave for Sierra Lione Credit: MOD

Once in country, personnel will take over from clinicians attached to 22 Field Hospital, who have been deployed since October, manning the 12 bed facility reserved to treat healthcare workers with Ebola.

Oxford Ebola vaccine trials continue progression at speed

The 60th and last healthy volunteer will receive the Ebola vaccine in a trial carried out by the University of Oxford today.

The first volunteer in the UK trial at Oxford University was vaccinated on September 17, two weeks after the first volunteer in the USA. This allowed further trials in Mali and then Switzerland to begin shortly afterwards in October.

Almost 200 people have received a candidate Ebola vaccine in little more than two months in safety trials carried out in the USA, UK, Mali and Switzerland.

If the safety and immunogenicity data from the Phase 1 trials are promising, the expectation is that the vaccine will move into the next phases of study to further evaluate safety as well as effectiveness in protecting against Ebola infection in African countries.

The Oxford trial is being funded under a £2.8 million grant from the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the UK Department for International Development.

Professor Adrian Hill of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, who is leading the Oxford trial, said: "The response we have seen from people coming forward to take part has been remarkable."

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Oxfam sends emergency equipment to tackle Ebola crisis

The loading of 40 tonnes of emergency equipment to help stop the spread of Ebola in Liberia has taken place this morning at the Oxfam emergency warehouse in Bicester, Oxfordshire.

Some £227,000 worth of water and sanitation equipment, including a drilling rig, generator, water tanks, pipes, taps and buckets, will be sent over to the country.

The aid will be vital in providing clean water and sanitation for people in Liberia and tomorrow will be sending a similar amount of aid to Sierra Leone where the crisis is getting worse.

People desperately need clean water. Clean water keeps people alive and it will help stop the spread of this horrendous disease. We're winning the battle against Ebola in Liberia but we are far from winning the war.

– Oxfam spokesman

Ebola screening at Gatwick

Gatwick airport Credit: P.A.

Screening for Ebola at Gatwick Airport will begin, say Public Health Enland.

It will start in North Terminal, then checks will begin at South Terminal,

followed by St Pancras (Eurostar) later this week, a spokesman said.

He added: "This expands the screening initiated at Heathrow last week, which

is going well. Manchester and Birmingham airports will follow in the coming

weeks.

"Screening is being undertaken to help ensure individuals arriving from

high-risk areas know what to do if they start feeling ill, and can receive

expert advice immediately. We are also providing all general practices,

emergency departments, and pharmacies in England with awareness posters from

this week. Public Health England will continue to consider other appropriate

additional measures."

The screening is taking place for passengers that Border Force officers

identify as having travelled from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.<

Passengers have their temperature taken and complete a questionnaire asking

about their current health, recent travel history and whether they might be at

potential risk through contact with Ebola patients.<

Based on the information provided and their temperature, passengers will either

be given advice and allowed to continue their journey, or undergo a clinical

assessment by PHE staff and if necessary be transferred to hospital for further

tests.

"Screening is being undertaken to help ensure individuals arriving from high-risk areas know what to do if they start feeling ill, and can receive expert advice immediately. We are also providing all general practices, emergency departments, and pharmacies in England with awareness posters from this week. Public Health England will continue to consider other appropriate additional measures."

– Public Health England
  1. National

Oxfam: Troops needed to tackle spread of Ebola

UK charity Oxfam has called for 'more troops, funding and medical staff' to tackle Ebola. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

More troops, funding and medical staff are urgently needed to prevent the Ebola outbreak becoming the "definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation", Oxfam has warned.

The UK-based charity said there was less than a two-month window to curb the spread of the deadly virus but there remained a "crippling shortfall" in military personnel to provide logistical support across west Africa.

The charity said it was "extremely rare" to call for military intervention but troops were "desperately needed" to build treatment centres, provide flights and offer engineering and logistical support.

Oxfam also called for European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday to follow the UK's lead in pledging £125m in response to the Ebola crisis.

We are in the eye of a storm. We cannot allow Ebola to immobilise us in fear, but instead we must move toward a common mission to stop it from getting worse...Countries that have failed to commit troops, doctors and enough funding are in danger of costing lives.

– Oxfam's chief executive Mark Goldring

Heathrow starts Ebola screening

Heathrow has become the first airport in the country to start screening passengers for Ebola.

Only travellers arriving from at risk countries will be checked. The monitoring includes taking temperatures and the completion of questionnaires.

The screening started at Heathrow's Terminal 1 today. It will be extended to other terminals, Gatwick airport and Eurostar by the end of this week.

ITV Meridian spoke to these passengers...

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