Public Release: 

Workshop on public health research for Ebola

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council will host a one-day workshop on Nov. 3 to examine the areas of biomedical and public health research that should be conducted to best prepare the United States to safeguard the public as a result of the emergence of Ebola Virus Disease. The workshop will provide a venue for real-time discussions about immediate science needs that, when answered, will immediately inform HHS, public health officials, providers, and the general public with the most up-to-date and accurate information about virus transmission, mitigation of health risks, and appropriate measures to prevent the spread of disease.

"Our goal for this workshop is to provide a forum for key experts and decision makers to discuss what research is needed and can be performed now to assist the public health response to the occurrence of Ebola in the United States," said Institute of Medicine president Victor J. Dzau. "We want to mobilize the best expertise and offer the best possible advice to the nation and the world community to address this global challenge as it evolves and to prepare for future events."

While the Ebola virus has typically been studied in laboratory settings, research on the characteristics and behaviors of the virus under real-world conditions can provide additional evidence-based information to support public health efforts. Research topics that may be considered during the workshop include routes of virus transmission, persistence of the virus on various types of surfaces and the ability to transfer viable virus to other locations, effective methods for viral inactivation and disinfection, and strategies to protect at-risk responders, providers, and the general public, including the use of personal protective equipment. Discussions will focus primarily on basic science and public health issues of specific concern to affected and potentially affected communities in the U.S.

Following the event, a brief written document based on the presentations and discussions held at the workshop will be prepared. No consensus findings or recommendations will be issued.

Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public. The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies.

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DETAILS:

The workshop will be held on Monday, Nov. 3 at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Plenary sessions and discussions will be available via live video webcast. Advance registration is required. For more information and to register to attend in person, please visit http://www.iom.edu/ebolatransmissionresearch. Members of the media who wish to attend should register with the Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail news@nas.edu.

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