Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and the CDC are providing training for staff from Ebola Assessment Hospitals and state public health departments to prepare those hospitals to receive, isolate and care for a patient under investigation for Ebola. The courses are available at no cost for up to five staff members from each designated Ebola Assessment Hospital and three staff members from the corresponding state health department.
The two-day Ebola Assessment Hospital course will be presented by Emory University Hospital July 16-17. The course also will be presented by the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit Aug. 10-11. The course also was presented at both facilities in June. For more information, visit CDC.gov.
Study examines long-term effects
In other news, the Liberia-U.S. clinical research partnership known as PREVAIL (Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia) has launched a study of people in Liberia who survived Ebola virus disease within the past two years, according to a news release. PREVAIL III investigators hope to better understand the long-term health consequences of EVD, determine if survivors develop immunity that will protect them from future Ebola infection and assess whether previously EVD-infected individuals can transmit infection to close contacts and sexual partners. The study, sponsored by the Ministry of Health of Liberia and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, will take place at various sites in Liberia and is expected to enroll approximately 7,500 participants including 1,500 people of any age who survived EVD and 6,000 of their close contacts.
“The clinical course of Ebola virus disease is reasonably well-understood, but we still have much to learn about the long-term health effects of the illness in those who recover,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said in the release.
Enrollment began at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, in Sinkor, Monrovia, and the study was set to open at other sites at the end of June.
Study participants will undergo a medical history and physical and vision examination and have blood samples collected so researchers can identify and track any health issues, monitor organ and ocular function and record Ebola antibody levels. Some participants also may be asked to provide samples of bodily fluids, such as sweat and tears, and for adults, semen or cervical secretions. Up to five close contacts who agree to participate in the study will undergo a physical examination, have blood samples taken and asked to complete a questionnaire detailing their contact with the Ebola survivor.
Staff from the NIH’s National Eye Institute have helped establish a new eye clinic at John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital in Liberia, where ophthalmologists from NEI and Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore, will be evaluating study participants and their identified close contacts for visual problems. Treatment will be provided by Liberian ophthalmologists partnering in the study. “There have been reports of inflammatory eye disease and vision loss among Ebola survivors,” NEI Clinical Director Frederick Ferris, MD, said in the release. “Our goal is to determine the incidence and extent of Ebola-related eye disease among survivors, risk factors contributing to its development and optimal treatment strategies.”
The research team will follow the Ebola survivors and their close contacts for up to five years with study visits occurring every six months. Information collected during follow-up visits will help scientists determine the evolution of Ebola antibodies and will provide insight on whether survivors can still transmit the virus. Also, with collected data, researchers will calculate the incidence, prevalence and risk factors for various health issues experienced by survivors, such as vision problems, immune system changes, mental disorders, joint pain, diabetes, hypertension and pregnancy complications.
PREVAIL III is one of three research projects launched by the partnership between the U.S. and Liberia. In February, PREVAIL initiated two other Ebola clinical studies. PREVAIL I is a clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of two experimental vaccines to prevent Ebola virus infection. PREVAIL II is a clinical trial designed to obtain safety and efficacy data on various investigational drugs for the treatment of Ebola virus disease. The trial is ongoing in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the U.S.
To comment, email [email protected]