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Health workers carry a coffin containing a victim of Ebola virus in Butembo in May. Photo: John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images
One year ago today, the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola.
The big picture: Politics, violence and community suspicion are thwarting efforts to contain the virus, which shows no signs of abatement.
The latest: 3 more cases of Ebola were confirmed this week in Goma, bringing the total to 4 in the city.
There are several experimental vaccines for Ebola, but only one — made by Merck — is currently approved for use in the DRC.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells Axios that by halving the doses "we're not going to run out of vaccine for a while."
"The biggest challenge is insecurity," says Ben Dahl, who returned recently from the DRC where he served as response lead for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another issue is the lack of financial tracking of funding for an outbreak "rumored to cost $1 million a day," says Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins' Center for Health Security.
The current Ebola outbreak in the DRC is the country's 10th since 1976 — and the worst in its history.
For comparison, there were 318, 317 and 264 cases reported in outbreaks of the virus in the DRC in 1976 (the first), 1995 and 2007, per WHO.
The big picture: Efforts to fight Ebola in the DRC are hindered by a parallel outbreak of measles, other diseases, misinformation and insecurity in the region.
Milky Way map. Credit: J. Skowron/OGLE/Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw
A new 3D map of the Milky Way reveals the structure of our galaxy as never before, according to a new study, Axios' Miriam Kramer reports.
Why it matters: By modeling the Milky Way, scientists can piece together the galaxy’s history, explaining why it looks the way it does and placing it in context with other galaxies observed around our own.
What they found: The new study, published today in the journal Science, confirms the Milky Way’s disk appears to be warped in an extreme way.
What’s next: Mapping variable stars like Cepheids on the other side of the Milky Way’s center could inform future research about the shape of our galaxy, astrophysicist Richard de Grijs, who didn’t take part in the new study, tells Axios via email.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The future of asteroid tracking (Miriam Kramer — Axios)
Obituary: Chaser, "the world's smartest dog" (Derrick Bryson Taylor — NYT)
The geology of geopolitics (Steve LeVine — Axios)
Japan approves first human-animal embryo experiments (David Cyranoski — Nature)
A new science of progress (Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen — The Atlantic)
A turtle embryo. Photo: Du et al./Chinese Academy of Sciences
Turtle embryos appear to be able to move within their eggs to temperature sweet spots that influence their sex, a new study reports.
The big picture: The sex of some turtle species is determined by the nest's temperature. The turtles can control that temperature a bit — by changing the time of season they are active or choosing their nesting sites accordingly.
How it works: For the Chinese pond turtles (Mauremys reevesii) studied, the pivotal temperature — at which females and males are produced at a population-sustaining ratio of 1:1 — is about 29°C.
What they found: Wei-Guo Du of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues report the temperature inside eggs of the species' could vary as much as 4.7°C during development.
Yes, but: Some researchers are skeptical of the results. They question how long embryos can move inside the egg as they develop and whether the turtles can coordinate that movement as the study implies, reports Science's Katie Camero.
The bottom line: "Maybe it will help them hang on for a little while longer, but unless broader action is taken, it won’t matter in the long run," says Gangloff.