Ebola’s Expiration: Merck’s Ebola Vaccine Approved in Europe

Researchers, healthcare providers and global health officials who worked hard to grapple with the devastating Ebola outbreak of West Africa between 2014 and 2016 can finally breathe a sigh of relief — the very first Ebola vaccine was finally approved in Europe. Known as Ervebo, this Ebola vaccine is manufactured by the biopharmaceutical company Merck and was granted marketing authorization by the European Commission on November 11. Prof. Gary Whittaker, virology, shared his insight on the inner workings of the vaccine and its development, as well as what this landmark achievement means for the future of global health. Whittaker explained that the vaccine itself is actually a recombinant virus, based on the backbone of vesicular stomatitis virus originating from sheep and goats. “[VSV] is very efficiently growing and relatively easy to make, [so] it’s engineered to express the glycoprotein of Ebola … it generates the immune response against the Ebola virus glycoprotein, which is equivalent to the surface protein of Ebola,” Whittaker said.

Global Health, ILR Students Gain Service Experience Collaborating with Indian NGO

This summer, 15 Cornell students embarked on a journey that reshaped their awareness of global health systems. In partnership with the non-governmental organization Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and the ILR School, students in the Global Health program worked on four to six week projects at SVYM sites that related to students’ career and service interests. In addition to projects, the students took classes at the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies in Mysore, India, where they learned about Indian culture, gender, labor relations and economics, language and yoga. Global Health student Simran Malhotra ’20 saw her project on digitizing patient history have a tangible impact despite organizational complications. “Because I was not working to publish something, I could work immediately with the NGO and actually saw them using my work,” Malhotra said. According to Malhotra, since the doctors in India see up to 50 patients in a day — such a high volume of visits means that doctors do not have time to go over treatment procedures with patients.

Students Study Health Policy, Gain Hands-On Experience in Tanzania

Any person, any study, anywhere! This past summer, 16 students were selected to spend eight weeks in a cross cultural exchange after undergoing an application and interview process through the College of Human Ecology’s Nutritional Science Department. The Global Health Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences provides students across colleges with opportunities to engage, explore, and learn in Tanzania, Zambia, the Dominican Republic and India. For the first four weeks of the program in Moshi, Tanzania — which is near Mount Kilimanjaro — the students lived with local families and enrolled in a course at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. The second four weeks had students working 40 hours per week at a local non-governmental organization or hospital and engaging in service projects that related to their individual interests in global health.

ILR Program Gives Students Policy Analysis Experience in Zambia

This past summer, a group of students from Cornell’s global health program and School of Industrial and Labor Relations traveled to Lusaka, Zambia for a research project that immersed them in the sociopolitical landscape of Southern Africa for eight weeks. The 12-person team consisting of 9 Global Health students and 3 ILR students interested in global health, worked with one another and with local organizations to study and present their findings on topics ranging from workforce barriers to new development policies. The program was initiated in 2013 in an effort for students not only to understand and appreciate the full scope of global health and labor relations, but also to apply their academic coursework in an environment surrounded by like-minded individuals and organizations. Each year, the focus of the research efforts differs depending on the current policies and events relevant to the community. Students had the opportunity to work with the Southern Africa Institute for Policy and Research, a research center in the Republic of Zambia that contributes to governance and policymaking through lecture series, fellowships, seminars and more.

Student Organizations Promote Global Health Opportunities at Fair

Cornellians gathered inside Willard Straight Hall at Cornell’s second Global Health Club Fair Monday, an event that highlights opportunities for students to get involved in global health initiatives on campus. The fair had tables from 14 clubs, ranging from project teams to crowdfunding initiatives, where students could speak to club members. It was hosted by Cornell’s Global Health Student Council, a blanket organization that connects over 20 global health organizations across the campus, according to GHSC president Alex Leto ’16. Leto described the fair as a chance to promote unity and collaboration among the organizations — GHSC’s main goal — in addition to increasing student participation in global health programs.
“[The clubs] can promote the global health community as a whole, while also promoting their own interests and missions,” Leto said. According to Leto, the GHSC reserved the Willard Straight Memorial Room nearly a year in advance — right after its club fair last year in Upson Hall — in  hopes that the more central location would attract attendees.