Ebola Virus Patients update! Great work in a short time. Thanks to all involved.
a little known American drug company is reported to have produced a serum that may be working on the two US aid workers infected by the Ebola virus in Africa.
The top secret experimental vials were secretly flown to Liberia last week to be administered to Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, both of whom were working for the charity Samaritan's Purse treating Ebola patients when they were infected by the deadly virus that causes almost certain death. Brantly showed immediate improvement in his condition, reports said, even as he was flown back to the US for further treatment.
In fact, television footage showed him walking unassisted to the hospital in Atlanta, accompanied by medical personnel in hazmat suits. Writebol's condition is not known; she is to be flown out from Liberia on Monday night to be brought to Atlanta. They are both being treated by a medical team at the Emory Medical Hospital in Atlanta.
Some reports said Dr Brantly, who had isolated himself in Liberia as soon as he found he had contracted the virus and had given himself up for dead, was able to shower by himself within a day of taking the secret serum.
The drug, called ZMapp, was reportedly sent by a representative from the National Institutes of Health to Samaritan's Purse.
Evidently, the medication is still at an experimental stage and has not been cleared for use, but such was the imminent danger to Dr Brantly's life that standard protocols were circumvented in an effort to save him.
It is not clear if Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the San Diego-based biotechnology firm, approved the application of its drug, but the recipients had to sign consent forms. They were told that the treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.
In a statement, the company said it was working with LeafBio of San Diego, Defyrus Inc. of Toronto, the U.S. government and the Public Health Agency of Canada on development of the drug, which was identified as a possible treatment in January.
The drug is made in tobacco plants at Kentucky BioProcessing, a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., in Owensboro, Kentucky, said spokesman David Howard. The plant "serves like a photocopier," and the drug is extracted from the plant, he said.
Kentucky BioProcessing complied with a request from Emory and the international relief group Samaritan's Purse to provide a limited amount of ZMapp to Emory, he said. Brantly works for the aid group.
"Ebola is a tricky virus and one day you can be up and the next day down. One day is not indicative of the outcome," he said. But "we're grateful this medicine was available."
Brantly, 33, also was said to be improving. Besides the experimental dose he got in Liberia, he also received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy, an Ebola survivor, who had been under his care. That seems to be aimed at giving Brantly antibodies the boy may have made to the virus.
Kent is a friend from college and I am thrilled that he has improved. My family and I were certainly praying for him! I am glad the serum got there when it did, he did not appear to have much time left.