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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine

Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo ends

PLOS will no longer actively triage Ebola content for expedited review, but will continue to update the Ebola Channel with new content.

The WHO announced this week that the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo is over. Teams from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported that their investigational vaccination programme was completed on June 23 and due to there being no new cases since that date the outbreak is considered contained.

“The outbreak was contained due to the tireless efforts of local teams, the support of partners, the generosity of donors, and the effective leadership of the Ministry of Health. That kind of leadership, allied with strong collaboration between partners, saves lives,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

During the outbreak, there were 53 cases of Ebola, sadly including 29 deaths. The speed and efficacy with which the disease has been contained, however, demonstrate the progress that has been made in international preparedness for such outbreaks in the few years since the 2014 west Africa Ebola outbreak.

In response to the outbreak, PLOS launched the Ebola Channel to bring together content from PLOS and the broader literature to make it easily and immediately discoverable. Since its launch on 31st May, we have worked with a special taskforce of editors and reviewers to manage an expedited review process for Ebola research across all our journals and platforms, thus ensuring that developments can be disseminated as rapidly as possible. In addition, we encouraged authors to share their data in relevant repositories and post their research as preprints, so that these can be featured on the Channel ahead of publication.

Now that the Ebola outbreak in DRC has ended we have decided to stop actively triaging Ebola content for expedited review and inclusion in the Channel. While the Channel will remain as a central hub and archive for Ebola research, we will no longer be updating it on a daily basis. We will add new research periodically over the coming months.

During this latest crisis, we were able to mobilise a taskforce and launch a Channel and expedited review process in a few days, vital in outbreaks where every delay to accessing new research may cost lives. This model is one we can and will repeat for future similar outbreaks requiring rapid responses.

Feature image credit: CDC Global (Frederick A. Murphy)

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