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VIRUS

Sweden wins lead role in Europe’s Ebola fight

Swedish researchers are spearheading two out of eight Ebola research projects launched on Friday by the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative.

Sweden wins lead role in Europe's Ebola fight
Health workers wearing Ebola protective gear remove the body of a man suspected to have died of the virus in Liberia. AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh
Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy has been tasked with investigating one of the three most promising vaccines for deadly hemorrhagic virus, while the Public Health Agency of Sweden is leading the development an easy diagnostic test for the virus, alongside Stockholm University.  
 
Ali Harandi, the Sahlgrenska researcher who is leading trials on the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine, said his project’s €3.9 million share of the Ebola project’s total €215m budget would speed up research by enabling his team to deploy cutting edge techniques. 
 
“The World Health Organisation has identified VSV-ZEBOV as one of the three most promising Ebola vaccine candidates, and clinical trials are already underway in Europe and Africa,” he said. “The EU-IMI investment enables us to harness the power of the cutting edge genomics technologies along with the state-of-the-art immunological read-outs.” 
 
This, he said, would bring detailed new information on how the human immune system reacted to the vaccine. 
 
The World Health Organisation estimates that some 21,296 people have contracted the deadly virus in West Africa since the epidemic broke out there in December 2013, of whom 
around 8,500 have died. 
 
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a partnership between the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, a pharmaceutical trade body. 
 
The Sahlgrenska team is working with Italy's Sclavo Vaccines Organisation and other researchers in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, and the US. The Public Health Agency is working with researchers in Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, Finland, and Senegal. 
 

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MUSIC

Spotify shuts down ads as virus strikes

Swedish online music streaming service Spotify has switched off its adverts after users of its ad-supported version reported being hit by a virus attack.

Spotify shuts down ads as virus strikes

Spotify confirmed on its Twitter feed that it has received a number of reports of malware being installed on users’ computers after they were infected by an as yet unidentified advertisement.

“We’ve turned off all 3rd party display ads that could have caused it until we find the exact one,” the company wrote.

Spotify said on Friday afternoon that it was still investigating what may have caused the security breach.

“We take this very seriously and will take every step possible to ensure it doesn’t occur again,” it said.

In brighter news for the popular music service, Spotify has begun recruiting employees in the United States three months after it penned its first American distribution deal with recording industry giant Sony Music Entertainment.

On its website, the company said it was seeking a US regional controller, as well as a graphic designer, an interaction designer and a software engineer for New York-based jobs.

Spotify is working to get its services up and running in the United States as soon as possible.

European users can choose between a free streaming service that carries ads, an unlimited ad-free version that costs 49 kronor per month ($8), and a 99-kronor mobile-phone ready premium version that allows users to listen to music in offline mode.

As it continues to expand, the company is currently advertising a total of 29 positions on its site, with jobs also available in Stockholm, London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Oslo, and Barcelona.

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