Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ebola AND Marburg?!?

Forbes reports:

The Ugandan Ministry of Health is reporting today that a 30-year-old male health care worker died of Marburg hemorrhagic fever on September 30.

Marburg is a virus that produces symptoms that resemble  Ebola in many respects.  The fatality rate for Marburg is "only" in the 20%-to-30% compared to the Zaire strain of Ebola's 65%-to-75%. 

Also according to Forbes: Ebola, has no cure other than supportive treatment.

Sarepta Therapeutics of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been developing an RNA-interfering drug against Marburg virus as part of a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense. The drug, called AVI-7288, is targeted against the nucelocapsid protein of Marburg virus. In March, the company reported infection protection rates of up to 83% to 100% in non-human primates when given at up to four days post-infection. As a result, Sarepta initiated a multiple, ascending dose Phase I safety trial in humans in May.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals of Burnaby, British Columbia, has a lipid nanoparticle, RNA interfering drug that also protects non-human primates from Marburg infection. This work, done with Thomas Geisbert at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, appeared in Science Translational Medicine in August. There, the drug is called NP-718m-LNP, but Tekmira’s website currently calls it TKM-Marburg.

And why would the Defense Department be supporting anti-Marburg drugs?  Because, unlike Ebola, Marburg can be weaponized.

I am not quite ready to put a double layer of tin-foil on the inside of my hat.  But it calls to mind the nature of coincidences.  The confluence of two, presumably independent, sparse events often indicates the presence of a malicious hand.

Consider the instance of one of the Tylenol copy-cat crimes.  A women decided to off her husband with by tampering with headache medicine.  To cover her tracks, she placed tampered product on drugstore shelves figuring she could get lost in the crowd.  During the investigation it was determined that she had two contaminated bottles in her home.

Investigators' suspicions began to turn to Stella Nickell when they discovered that she claimed that the two contaminated Excedrin bottles that she had turned over to police had been purchased at different times and different locations. A total of five bottles had been found to be contaminated in the entire country, and it was regarded as suspicious that Nickell would happen to have acquired two of them purely by chance  -Wikipedia

Gallows Humor

Nothing says "Third World Country" more graphically than a Haz-Mat suit with the sleeves rolled up.

From Zerohedge
 Oh!  Wait!  That picture was taken in the United States.  Never mind.

The gentleman in the foreground does not appear to be wearing sealed goggles.  And both of them have bare heads.  Nothing provokes a head itch quicker than sweat trickles.


  1. Yeah, overconfidence and lack of procedures... Good lesson there...

    1. Fertilizer flows downhill. Nobody wants to do the work. A "temp" agency is called. A couple of strong backs with a will to work are selected. The straw-boss knows nothing and cares less. It is not how you would handle 200 grams of Co60 dust.

      It will be a good lesson IF practices change. Around here firefighters are the go-to for first line of haz-mat defense in the public sphere. Tell them to treat it like methyl-ethyl-bad-stuff that can kill their families if they screw up...then pay them for a double shift.