[Special Issue Perspective] Strengthening the evidence base for health programming in humanitarian crises

Given the growing scale and complexity of responses to humanitarian crises, it is important to develop a stronger evidence base for health interventions in such contexts. Humanitarian crises present unique challenges to rigorous and effective research, but there are substantial opportunities for scientific advance. Studies need to focus where the translation of evidence from noncrisis scenarios is not viable and on ethical ways of determining what happens in the absence of an intervention. Robust methodologies suited to crisis settings have to be developed and used to assess interventions with potential for delivery at scale. Strengthening research capacity in the low- to middle-income countries that are vulnerable to crises is also crucial. Authors: A. Ager, G. Burnham, F. Checchi, M. Gayer, R. F. Grais, M. Henkens, M. B. F. Massaquoi, R. Nandy, C. Navarro-Colorado, P. Spiegel

[Special Issue Perspective] Emerging, evolving, and established infectious diseases and interventions

Planning, implementing, and evaluating interventions against infectious diseases depend on the nature of the infectious disease; the availability of intervention measures; and logistical, economic, and political constraints. Infectious diseases and vaccine- or drug-based interventions can be loosely categorized by the degree to which the infectious disease and the intervention are well established. Pertussis, polio, and measles are three examples of long-known infectious diseases for which global vaccination has dramatically reduced the public health burden. Pertussis vaccination was introduced in the 1940s, polio vaccination in the 1950s, and measles vaccination in the 1960s, nearly eliminating these diseases in many places. Authors: M. Elizabeth Halloran, Ira M. Longini

[Special Issue Perspective] Virus sharing, genetic sequencing, and global health security

This Perspective focuses on the future of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework, which was initially established to promote the fair sharing of public health–related pandemic influenza samples between countries. We examine the changes that need to be made to address the growing likelihood that genetic sequence data might be shared instead of physical virus samples, as well as the need to expand the PIP framework’s scope and to improve its fairness. Authors: Lawrence O. Gostin, Alexandra Phelan, Michael A. Stoto, John D. Kraemer, K. Srinath Reddy

[Special Issue Perspective] Monitoring parasite diversity for malaria elimination in sub-Saharan Africa

The African continent continues to bear the greatest burden of malaria and the greatest diversity of parasites, mosquito vectors, and human victims. The evolutionary plasticity of malaria parasites and their vectors is a major obstacle to eliminating the disease. Of current concern is the recently reported emergence of resistance to the front-line drug, artemisinin, in South-East Asia in Plasmodium falciparum, which calls for preemptive surveillance of the African parasite population for genetic markers of emerging drug resistance. Here we describe the Plasmodium Diversity Network Africa (PDNA), which has been established across 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to ensure that African scientists are enabled to work together and to play a key role in the global effort for tracking and responding to this public health threat. Authors: Anita Ghansah, Lucas Amenga-Etego, Alfred Amambua-Ngwa, Ben Andagalu, Tobias Apinjoh, Marielle Bouyou-Akotet, Victoria Cornelius, Lemu Golassa, Voahangy Hanitriniaina Andrianaranjaka, Deus Ishengoma, Kimberly Johnson, Edwin Kamau, Oumou Maïga-Ascofaré, Dieudonne Mumba, Paulina Tindana, Antoinette Tshefu-Kitoto, Milijaona Randrianarivelojosia, Yavo William, Dominic P. Kwiatkowski, Abdoulaye A. Djimde

[Special Issue Perspective] Antibiotic effectiveness: Balancing conservation against innovation

Antibiotic effectiveness is a natural societal resource that is diminished by antibiotic use. As with other such assets, keeping it available requires both conservation and innovation. Conservation encompasses making the best use of current antibiotic effectiveness by reducing demand through vaccination, infection control, diagnostics, public education, incentives for clinicians to prescribe fewer antibiotics, and restrictions on access to newer, last-resort antibiotics. Innovation includes improving the efficacy of current drugs and replenishing effectiveness by developing new drugs. In this paper, I assess the relative benefits and costs of these two approaches to maintaining our ability to treat infections. Author: Ramanan Laxminarayan

[Special Issue Perspective] Creating a global observatory for health R&D

A global map of health R&D activity would improve the coordination of research and help to match limited resources with public health priorities, such as combating antimicrobial resistance. The challenges of R&D mapping are large because there are few standards for research classification and governance and limited capacity to report on R&D data, especially in low-income countries. Nevertheless, based on developments in semantic classification, and with better reporting of funded research though the Internet, it is now becoming feasible to create a global observatory for health R&D. Authors: Robert F. Terry, José F. Salm, Claudia Nannei, Christopher Dye

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Legacy of a storm | Giving bacteria the old one-two…three-four | Flu survivors are an inflammatory club | The spinning heart of the Einstein Cross | New titanosaur unearthed in Argentina | Shining light on precision time-keeping | A complementary refill? Yes, please! | Collaborating on assessments

[Research Article] Innate lymphoid cells regulate intestinal epithelial cell glycosylation

Glycosylation of gut epithelial cells requires gut microbes, innate lymphoid cells, and cytokines. [Also see Perspective by Hooper] Authors: Yoshiyuki Goto, Takashi Obata, Jun Kunisawa, Shintaro Sato, Ivaylo I. Ivanov, Aayam Lamichhane, Natsumi Takeyama, Mariko Kamioka, Mitsuo Sakamoto, Takahiro Matsuki, Hiromi Setoyama, Akemi Imaoka, Satoshi Uematsu, Shizuo Akira, Steven E. Domino, Paulina Kulig, Burkhard Becher, Jean-Christophe Renauld, Chihiro Sasakawa, Yoshinori Umesaki, Yoshimi Benno, Hiroshi Kiyono

[Research Article] Intersection of population variation and autoimmunity genetics in human T cell activation

Profiles of T cell responses display genetically influenced interindividual variation. Authors: Chun Jimmie Ye, Ting Feng, Ho-Keun Kwon, Towfique Raj, Michael T. Wilson, Natasha Asinovski, Cristin McCabe, Michelle H. Lee, Irene Frohlich, Hyun-il Paik, Noah Zaitlen, Nir Hacohen, Barbara Stranger, Philip De Jager, Diane Mathis, Aviv Regev, Christophe Benoist

[Report] All-optical control of ferromagnetic thin films and nanostructures

The all-optical control of magnetization in thin ferromagnetic films is demonstrated. Authors: C-H. Lambert, S. Mangin, B. S. D. Ch. S. Varaprasad, Y. K. Takahashi, M. Hehn, M. Cinchetti, G. Malinowski, K. Hono, Y. Fainman, M. Aeschlimann, E. E. Fullerton

[Report] Morality in everyday life

Seeing, performing, or receiving a moral act influences how people behave later that day. [Also see Perspective by Graham] Authors: Wilhelm Hofmann, Daniel C. Wisneski, Mark J. Brandt, Linda J. Skitka

[Report] A memory of errors in sensorimotor learning

The history of previously experienced motor errors changes the amount the brain is willing to learn from an error. Authors: David J. Herzfeld, Pavan A. Vaswani, Mollie K. Marko, Reza Shadmehr

[Report] Development of the annelid axochord: Insights into notochord evolution

A comparative study suggests that the chordate notochord evolved from a ventral midline muscle in bilaterian ancestors. Authors: Antonella Lauri, Thibaut Brunet, Mette Handberg-Thorsager, Antje H.L. Fischer, Oleg Simakov, Patrick R. H. Steinmetz, Raju Tomer, Philipp J. Keller, Detlev Arendt

[Report] Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak

Sequencing the genome of Ebola virus disease provides tracking information. Authors: Stephen K. Gire, Augustine Goba, Kristian G. Andersen, Rachel S. G. Sealfon, Daniel J. Park, Lansana Kanneh, Simbirie Jalloh, Mambu Momoh, Mohamed Fullah, Gytis Dudas, Shirlee Wohl, Lina M. Moses, Nathan L. Yozwiak, Sarah Winnicki, Christian B. Matranga, Christine M. Malboeuf, James Qu, Adrianne D. Gladden, Stephen F. Schaffner, Xiao Yang, Pan-Pan Jiang, Mahan Nekoui, Andres Colubri, Moinya Ruth Coomber, Mbalu Fonnie, Alex Moigboi, Michael Gbakie, Fatima K. Kamara, Veronica Tucker, Edwin Konuwa, Sidiki Saffa, Josephine Sellu, Abdul Azziz Jalloh, Alice Kovoma, James Koninga, Ibrahim Mustapha, Kandeh Kargbo, Momoh Foday, Mohamed Yillah, Franklyn Kanneh, Willie Robert, James L. B. Massally, Sinéad B. Chapman, James Bochicchio, Cheryl Murphy, Chad Nusbaum, Sarah Young, Bruce W. Birren, Donald S. Grant, John S. Scheiffelin, Eric S. Lander, Christian Happi, Sahr M. Gevao, Andreas Gnirke, Andrew Rambaut, Robert F. Garry, S. Humarr Khan, Pardis C. Sabeti

[New Products] New Products

A weekly roundup of information on newly offered instrumentation, apparatus, and laboratory materials of potential interest to researchers.

[Editorial] Ebola's perfect storm

The devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the result of a perfect storm: dysfunctional health services as the result of decades of war, low public trust in government and Western medicine, traditional beliefs and even denials about the cause or existence of the virus, and burial practices that involve contact with contagious Ebola-infected corpses. There are now five affected West African countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and most recently, Senegal. Ebola has killed around 2000 and infected more than 3500, with over 40% of cases occurring within the past few weeks. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that 20,000 may become infected. This fast pace of Ebola's spread is a grim reminder that epidemics are a global threat and that the only way to get this virus under control is through a rapid response at a massive global scale—much stronger than the current efforts. Author: Peter Piot