Health Highlights, Nov. 18, 2020

Below are newsworthy items compiled by HealthDay staff:


Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo Declared Over

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is over, health officials say.

Wednesday marks 42 days, or two incubation periods, since the last survivor tested negative for the virus, so the DRC Ministry of Health and World Health Organization officially announced the end of the outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic," CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an agency news release. "CDC congratulates the DRC Ministry of Health and partners who have worked tirelessly to overcome challenges and bring this Ebola outbreak to an end."

While this is a significant achievement, efforts to quickly detect new cases of Ebola must continue for at least six months, the CDC noted.


Two Major Airlines Offer Voluntary COVID-19 Testing for Passengers

British Airways and American Airlines are teaming up to offer voluntary COVID-19 testing for passengers flying to London's Heathrow Airport from New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.

The pilot program, which will start Nov. 25, is meant to convince the British government to repeal rules requiring most international travelers to quarantine for 14 days, the Associated Press reported.

Passenger tests will be done 72 hours before departure, on arrival at Heathrow and three days after arrival.

The objective is to prove that a single test 72 hours before takeoff is enough to ensure travelers aren't carrying COVID-19, according to British Airways, the AP reported.


Dolly Parton's $1 Million Donation Helped Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Research

Dolly Parton donated $1 million for research that has led to a promising COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna.

Preliminary results suggest that the vaccine is 94.5% effective against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, CBS News reported.

Parton's April donation was for research at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

"I'm just happy that anything I do can help somebody else," she said during an interview Tuesday on the TODAY show, CBS News reported. "When I donated money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is. Let's just hope we find a cure real soon."

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