Has the African Ebola virus outbreak spread to a Nigerian city of 21 million??

nigeria

Felix Onuah and Tom Miles for Reuters report that the government of Nigeria has confirmed that a man has died of Ebola virus in the megacity of Lagos, Nigeria (population: 21 million). However, the city of Lagos reports it is still awaiting official confirmation of the Ebola virus. Since February an Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone has killed 660 people. Apparently the man was quarantined upon arriving to Lagos, but was likely in contact with others while traveling to Nigeria. A spread to a major city may not be as bad as one might think:

“The fear of spread within a dense population would be offset by better healthcare and a willingness to use it, easier contact tracing and, I assume for an urban population, less risky funerary and family rites,” Ian Jones, a professor of virology at the University of Reading in Britain, said. “It would be contained more easily than in rural populations.”

It still can’t be good for viral spreading to have an outbreak in a major city. Check out previous posts from CauseScience about this Ebola outbreak. Including a terrific description of what it is like to have Ebola virus by Derek Gatherer and how likely the Ebola outbreak is to spread to the US and Europe. Obviously if the Ebola outbreak spreads to a large city in Nigeria, spread to other countries will become much more likely.

Support NIH

Contact your senators to support biomedical research! Great post from #Research!America as usual! #CauseScience

Research!America Blog

Ask Your Senators to Support the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act

Funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has remained flat in recent years, and uncertainty is growing over the ability of universities and other research institutions to conduct the noncommercial medical research underlying new preventative measures, diagnostic tools, treatments, and cures. In response to significant concerns about the erosion of NIH’s purchasing power, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced legislation, the Advancing Biomedical Research Act, that empowers Congress to provide up to 10% increases in NIH funding for FY 2015 and FY 2016, and up to 5% increases through 2021. These increases are more than justified by the scientific opportunity unleashed when the human genome was sequenced. And that’s just one of the developments that has set the stage for accelerated medical progress. We need to conquer Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and other deadly and disabling health threats…and…

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CauseScience on vacation in Turkey and volunteering in Vermont = fewer posts for a week #wellbeback

The next 8 days will be a little quieter on CauseScience because one contributor is still on vacation in Turkey (lucky!), and the other is heading up to Vermont to volunteer at Camp Ta-Kum-Ta. Have no fear, we will return to make sure you get all the interesting science, science advocacy updates, and scientific explanation you are used to!

TKT

Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is an amazing camp in Vermont for children who have, or had, pediatric cancer. Check out the camp’s website here. Especially if you know any children that are eligible, want to support this amazing place, or are interested in volunteering!

Camp Ta-Kum-Ta provides challenging, extraordinary experiences in a safe and loving environment for children who have or have had cancer and their families. Camp exists for Vermont and Northern New York children,  (including other out-of-state children who are treated in Vermont), between the ages of 7-17, at no cost to their families.  

Video explains Einstein’s theory of gravity #science

This video does a great job visualizing gravity and spacetime. I have never quite connected the dots about this theory until now. Check it out… ‘CauseScience.

From EdwardCurrent on youtube:

A new demonstration of gravity, featuring the “Spacetime Stretcher,” built mostly out of materials from my garage and the hardware store.

Colombian Master’s student faces 8 years in prison for sharing article #DiegoGomez

As I have mentioned in a previous post, one major hurdle for researchers in countries outside the US and Europe is gaining access to published science. And remember that doing effective science requires access to what other scientists have done, which often comes at an exorbitant price.

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Today I learned about Diego Gomez, a Colombian masters student in Conservation and Wildlife Management in Costa Rica. According to an article on Electronic Frontier Foundation by Maira Sutton, Diego Gomez is facing 4-8 years in prison for sharing an academic article (possibly just a master’s thesis?) on the internet with a group of other students and researchers. According to the Sutton article,

The author of the paper then filed a lawsuit over the “violation of [his] economic and related rights.”

I am curious who this author is… i mean really? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a publishing company or institution, but it seems crazy that it would be the author themselves. See a letter from Diego Gomez in english on karisma.org (the website of Fundación Karisma, who are supporting Gomez). Sadly, as you can see below, Gomez and other researchers outside the US and Europe are almost required to break laws to participate in research. Below are some excerpts from Gomez’ letter, bolding is mine.

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My name is Diego Gomez and with 26 years old I have defined my great passion in life: the biodiversity conservation.

Above all, I’m disconcerted that this activity I did for academic purposes may be considered a crime, turning me into a “criminal.” Today what the vast majority of the country’s researchers and conservationists are doing, despite being committed to spreading knowledge, is turning us into criminals.

Check out on twitter (mostly in spanish) at #CompartirNoEsDelito

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Science Quotable: Research!America President Mary Woolley #AccelerateBiomedicalResearchAct

ResAmerThe Accelerate Biomedical Research Act will establish a pathway for sustained growth in the NIH budget. That budget has remained virtually stagnant over the last decade, jeopardizing promising research to combat disease and deflating the aspirations of early career scientists. NIH-funded research fuels the development of lifesaving therapies and treatments and creates opportunities for public-private partnerships to better understand Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and other major health threats here and abroad.  – Mary Woolley, President of Research!America.