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MSF regret wait for Ebola vaccine call

Medecins Sans Frontiers "wasted time" by waiting too long to call for vaccines to fight an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, a veteran of the medical charity told Reuters.

The group's response to the epidemic which has so far killed more than 5,000 people has been widely praised by governments and the World Health Organisation. While Western donors dithered and other aid groups pulled out, MSF deployed hundreds to the Ebola "hot zones" and treated more than 3,000 patients.

But the emergency group relied too much on strategies it developed during smaller previous eruptions of the virus, leading it to make mistakes as this year's rampant multi-country epidemic pushed it to its limits, said Jean-Herve Bradol, a member of MSF's internal think-tank.

"Our response was too orientated toward the management of previous outbreaks," Bradol, of the Paris-based Centre For Reflection on Humanitarian Action (CRASH), told Reuters, adding that MSF's public appeal for vaccine development in September came months too late.

"We wasted time before speaking about a vaccine and treatments."

Meanwhile, the Nebraska doctors treating a surgeon who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone say he is in extremely critical condition.

Dr. Phil Smith leads the Nebraska Medical Center's biocontainment unit that has successfully treated two other Ebola patient said Salia is "extremely ill."

hnews@herald.ie


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