Issue compiled and edited by Katherine E. Atkins, W. John Edmunds and Cordelia E.M. Coltart
The 2013-16 Ebola epidemic’s unprecedented size and scope provided the potential to achieve significant advances in understanding the disease and to improve outbreak prevention strategies and public health responses. This special issue is the first compendium addressing the largest Ebola epidemic in history. The diversity of articles included reflects the multidisciplinary approach required to deal with a global health crisis.
We present a spectrum of original research, reviews and opinion articles to enhance the biological, epidemiological, clinical and operational knowledge-base of Ebola Virus Disease. We include articles highlighting the most significant scientific advances made: the development of a safe and highly effective vaccine; and the use of technologies not previously available during Ebola outbreaks, for example real-time mathematical modelling. Conversely, the articles highlight the major missed opportunity to advance knowledge of both clinical management and the effectiveness of different interventions. Despite almost 30,000 cases with a fatality risk of approximately 70%, remarkably little progress was made in research regarding the control and treatment of Ebola.
The epidemic’s impact was profound. We hope that recommendations will be translated into tangible solutions to ensure that the thousands of deaths that could have been prevented will be averted in future. Ebola outbreaks remain inevitable, but they need not attain the same size and scale as the 2013–16 epidemic.
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