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Entering the Ebola red zone: #ScientistAtWork photo competition 2018

Entering the Ebola red zone

Entering the Ebola red zone

Peter Horby & Rebecca Inglis

This picture of Tom Rawlinson and Josephine Borbor, researchers in Peter Horby’s infection diseases research group at the University of Oxford, UK, was taken in Sierra Leona at the height of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. Taken by Rebecca Inglis (a member of Horby’s group at the time), it was submitted to Naturejobs as part of the 2018 #ScientistAtWork photo competition, which runs until 31 March.

Read more about the competition here.

It’s 30 degrees Celsius outside, and the suits are even hotter, claustrophobic and uncomfortable. “When we came out, you could pour the sweat out of the rubber boots,” explains Horby. Worse still, the face masks and goggles, in bright, garish colours make it difficult for patients to relate to the researchers. “It’s very difficult to have a conversation with someone when they don’t know what you look like,” he adds. “All they can see of you is your eyes.”

The scientists were there as part of an international aid and research mission, testing a new drug in a clinical trial in the midst of a global public health emergency – one of the first times a drug has ever been tested in these sorts of conditions.

The photo, Horby says, captures the moment where Rawlinson and Borbor enter what’s known as the red zone, the quarantine area where up to 30 patients await clinical trials and treatment. Scientists must enter in pairs, to protect each other and watch out for dangers like dehydration or a rip in protective clothing. A lot of time is taken up putting the suits on and taking them off. Team members entered the zone more than 590 times during the three month trial, says Horby.

“With dangerous outbreaks like Ebola, doing the science is especially difficult,” he adds. “I’ve done presentations and used the title ‘science in a crisis’ – I’ve been in a few crises.”

The dangers and difficulties carry an enormous reward. Beyond helping individual patients, Horby hopes his work will inspire more trials like this one, and accelerate the availability of medicine during other outbreaks. “What we’ve shown is you can do this international-standard clinical research even in the most extreme crisis. We want people to not be put off of the extreme challenges,” he says.

And he hopes that photographs like this one will show scientists what his work entails – that it’s difficult, but do-able. “Many of the Oxford staff are volunteers and they’re doing it because they want to. That’s what the photographs are for – to show people that it’s possible.”

Horby also sees his team’s work in Africa as an example of the work that scientists can find outside the lab. “There are lots of opportunities for exciting science – it goes well beyond the bench or the microscope. This is a situation where you’re in a tough field environment, and one that has a really important effect on global health. Science can be part of that response.”

 

About the competition

The competition runs midnight GMT on 31 March 2018. Entrants must not be professional photographers.

All you need to do to enter is either:

  1. Email us your photo with a quick description and your contact details, or
  2. Post your image on Twitter with the #ScientistAtWork tag, or
  3. Post your image on Instagram with the #ScientistAtWork tag

You must be willing to grant us the rights to publish your image for the competition. You also must be contactable — we’ll be getting in touch to interview you about your photo if you are one of the five winners. We may also contact runners-up, as we did in 2017, to find out more about the story behind the image.

The winning entries will be decided by a panel of Nature journalists and art staff. We’re looking for images that capture moments in a scientific day — either in or out of the lab — in an original way. Heavily photoshopped images will not be considered (though colour correction and touching-up is fine). Finally, your photo must be high enough quality for print publishing in Nature (at least 220 mm at 300 dpi) to be considered.

Please feel free to send any questions to photocompetition@nature.com.

 

Horby’s photo is an entry to the #ScientistAtWork photo competition. You can find out more at this link. or see terms and conditions below.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Please read these terms and conditions carefully. By entering into this Naturejobs ScientistAtWork photo competition (“Promotion”), you agree that you have read these terms and that you agree to them. Failure to comply with these terms and conditions may result in your disqualification from the Promotion.

  1. This Promotion is run by Nature Research, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited a company registered in England with registered number 00785998 and registered office at The Campus, 4 Crinan Street, London N1 9XW (“Promoter”).
  2. To enter this Promotion you must be: (a) resident in a country where it is lawful for you to enter; and (b) aged 18 years old or over (or the applicable age of majority in your country if higher) at the time of entry. This Promotion is void in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria and where prohibited or restricted by law.
  3. This Promotion is not open to directors or employees (or members of their immediate families) of Promoter or any subsidiary of Promoter. This Promotion is not open to professional photographers (for the purposes of this Promotion, a professional photographeris someone who makes more than half their annual income from the sale of their photographs). Promoter reserves the right to verify the eligibility of entrants.
  4. The Promotion is open for entries between 00:00 on 1/3/2018 and 00:00 on 31/3/2018 GMT.
  5. No purchase is necessary to enter this prize Promotion and will not increase your chances of winning.
  6. You can enter this Promotion in the following way: by a) emailing your photo to photocompetition@nature.com OR by b) uploading your photo with the hashtag #ScientistAtWork to Instagram or Twitter. This Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram. By participating you hereby release and hold harmless Instagram from any and all liability associated with this Promotion.
  7. Only one entry per eligible person. Multiple entries will be deemed to be invalid and may lead to disqualification. Entries should be high-resolution jpeg files (with a minimum resolution of 220 mm at 300 dpi (dots per inch)).  Digital adjustments that maintain the integrity of the image are allowed. It is not permitted to make any material physical change. You may not, for example, add or remove objects or people. Digital adjustments including tone and contrast, burning, dodging, cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, minor cleaning work, HDR, stitched panoramas, focus stacking and multiple exposure taken at the same location at the same time (as a continuous sequence) are permitted.
  8. Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to reach Promoter by the closing date for any reason. Proof of posting or sending is not proof of receipt. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid. No other form of entry is permitted. Please keep a copy of your entry as we will be unable to return entries or provide copies.
  9. The prize for the Promotion consists of the following: a personal print and online subscription to The entry will be considered – by the editors – for publication in Nature magazine, alongside participants’ name and affiliation (if applicable). The editors reserve full editorial discretion in choosing winner(s), and may decide to award none of the entries.
  10. The prizes shall be awarded as follows: The prize will be decided in the week following the close of the competitionThe winner(s) will be notified via email. Winner(s) will be selected by a panel of Nature staff, at least one of which will be independent from the competition, based off of photographic merit, creativity, photo quality, and impact. Full names of the judging panel will be available on request. Any decision will be final and binding and no further communication will be entered into in relation to it.
  11. Ownership of entries: for consideration into this competition, you must be willing to sign a license to publish form granting a license of the intellectual property rights in your image to the Promoter. Such license will be supplied by the Promoter to selected entries and will include the right to use the entry in promotional or marketing material in print and online. You confirm that your entry is your own original work, is not defamatory and does not infringe any laws, including privacy laws, whether of the UK or elsewhere, or any rights of any third party, that no other person was involved in the creation of your entry, that you have the right to give Promoter and its respective licensees permission to use it for the purposes specified herein, that you have the consent of anyone who is identifiable in your contribution or the consent of their parent, guardian or carer if they are under 18 (or the applicable age of majority), it is lawful for you to enter and that you agree not to transfer files which contain viruses or any other harmful programs. Any identifiable person in the entry will be required to sign a model release.
  12. The winner(s) of the Promotion shall be notified as follows: contacted by email no more than two weeks after the competition closesIf the winner enters the Promotion via social media, the Promoter will use reasonable endeavours to contact the winner, but reserves the right to reject any such entry the winner cannot be contacted.
  13. The winner(s) will be required to confirm acceptance of the prize within five working days and may be required to complete and return an eligibility form stating their age and residency details, among other details. Promoter will endeavour to ensure that winner(s) receive their prizes within 30 days of the date they confirm acceptance of the prize. If a winner does not accept the prize within five working days of being notified, they will forfeit their prize and Promoter reserves the right to choose another winner(s). Promoter’s decision is final and Promoter reserves the right not to correspond on any matter.
  14. The name, region of residence and likeness of the winners may be used by Promoter for reasonable post-event publicity in any form including on Promoters website and social media pages at no cost.
  15. You can find out who has won a prize by sending an e-mail to photocompetition@nature.com or checking nature.com. Winners will be announced in Nature in an April 2018 careers feature.
  16. Promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend these Terms and Conditions or change the Prize (to one of equal or greater value) as required by the circumstances. No cash equivalent to the Prize is available.
  17. All personal data submitted by entrants is subject to and will be treated in a manner consistent with Promoter’s Privacy Policy accessible at http://www.nature.com/info/privacy.html. By participating in this Promotion, entrants hereby agree that Promoter may collect and use their personal information and acknowledge that they have read and accepted the Promoter Privacy Policy.
  18. Promoter may at its sole discretion disqualify any entrant found to be tampering or interfering with the entry process or operation of the website, or to be acting in any manner deemed to be disruptive of or prejudicial to the operation or administration of the Promotion.
  19. Other than for death or personal injury arising from negligence of the Promoter, so far as is permitted by law, the Promoter hereby excludes all liability for any loss, damage, cost and expense, whether direct or indirect, howsoever caused in connection with the Promotion or any aspect of the Prize. All activities are undertaken at the entrants own risk. Your legal rights as a consumer are not affected.
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