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A surprisingly high proportion of the Gabonese population could have immunity against Ebola. Antibodies to the virus were found in 15.3% of rural communities, whereas these people had never had haemorrhagic fever or other specific symptoms of the disease (such as severe diarrhoea or vomiting). IRD researchers and their partners 1 recently discovered this large number of healthy carriers among Gabonese people, even in areas where there has never been an Ebola outbreak. The scientists consider that these people have somehow come into contact with the virus, probably present in fruit contaminated by saliva from Chiroptera (fruit bats) 2.
Ebola fever epidemics have been striking central Africa for more than 30 years. Today the researchers know that Chiroptera, suspected of being the natural reservoir of the virus, can contaminate humans directly. However, the exact mechanisms of human contamination are still uncertain. This study sheds new light on the circulation of Ebola in the wild and on the threat it poses for humans, which could prove to be less severe than predicted.
Interview with Philippe Busquin Philippe Busquin, Chairman of STOA, Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament and former European commissioner for scientific research, gives his thoughts on scientific cooperation between Europe and countries of the South. ...
Michel Griffon, agronomist and economist, Deputy Director General of the French National Research Agency (ANR), goes over the causes of the food crisis. He suggests a set of measures to meet the food security challenges and gives a broad outline of the types of agriculture that should be made priorities in the developing countries.