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World Bank’s Ebola plea to Asia

Tuesday, November 04, 2014 - 01:52

French researchers have developed an Ebola test which gives results within 15 minutes. But as Joel Flynn reports the World Bank says more money is still urgently needed to fight the virus, particularly from Asia.

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It's 2,500 miles from West Africa, but this laboratory in southern France is on the frontline in the war on Ebola. The scientists at the Atomic Energy Commission are developing a test which can detect the virus in less than 15 minutes - at the moment it can take up to 24 hours. It works like a pregnancy test, and doesn't require expensive, specialised equipment. Laurent Bellanger is one of the researchers. SOUNDBITE: Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) Laboratory Director, Laurent Bellanger, saying (French): "We're in pre-production, but while we're only working on prototypes, we expect to have enough in the coming days to start clinical trials. After that we can begin large-scale production next year, which can adapt to what's needed in the field." The French scientists are part of a global effort to combat the disease which has now claimed more than 5,000 lives. And many countries have donated money and sent troops and health workers. Canada has just announced new funding for clinical vaccine trials ($20m) That's on top of recent donations from the EU ($250m). The U.S. ($1bln) is the biggest contributor. It's also sent thousands of soldiers. Asia has responded too. China and South Korea offering cash (China $123m / South Korea $5.6m) and Japan medical equipment. China's also sent a few hundred health workers. But World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says the region needs to do more. SOUNDBITE: World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, saying (English): "Many countries in Asia that could help simply are not, especially when it comes to sending health workers. I call on countries across Asia to offer trained health workers now to help stop Ebola at its source." Vaccine development is where many hope the longer term fight against Ebola can be won. GlaxoSmithKline is starting clinical trials in Switzerland. It'll be months before their vaccine is available for use - for now it's mainly money and manpower that will help contain the virus.

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World Bank’s Ebola plea to Asia

Tuesday, November 04, 2014 - 01:52