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An international team of researchers have been presented with medals for their work combating Ebola in West Africa. All were involved in efforts to find an effective treatment for the Ebola virus.

Thirty British staff received the Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa, announced by the Prime Minister on 11 June 2015.

However, the University of Oxford-led group included people from fourteen countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three nations hardest-hit by Ebola. The University decided that their contributions should also be recognised and commissioned a University of Oxford Ebola medal.

The team carried out clinical trials of two possible Ebola treatments. The trials were set up within a few months, far faster than usual, despite the challenges of working in countries affected by a highly contagious disease.

The ceremony was part of a conference that reunited the volunteers to discuss the lessons they had learned from the trials. They want to ensure that researchers could respond to a future outbreak of Ebola, or a different disease, even faster and better.

Medals were presented by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Andrew Hamilton, and the head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, Professor Peter Ratcliffe.

Professor Hamilton said: ‘The work of the team was absolutely critical. These kinds of outbreaks can arise at any time and we need to be ready to respond. They responded magnificently.’

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