Are we Losing the Ebola Fight?

With no specific drug available to effectively treat Ebola, there is a cry for blood, or that is, the blood of those who have had the disease and developed an immunity. Kent Brantly, the American who contracted Ebola in West Africa and was returned to Atlanta for treatment, has given blood to three other Ebola victims, and each is recovering. On average, 50-70% of those infected with Ebola, die from the virus.

Some evidence suggests that some people may develop an immunity to Ebola without ever having been ill. A study was performed during a 1996 Gabon outbreak, where those who had contact with Ebola patients were monitored by researchers, and later found to have antibodies to the virus. Out of the 24 subjects monitored, 11 had antibodies. This suggests that immunization may be naturally occurring to people who are exposed to the virus.

ZMapp, the experiemental drug that was given to workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who contracted Ebola in West Africa, is another potential treatment for those infected with the virus. The United States is in the process of submitting plans to have the drug developed and produced. A task order was submitted on October 16 by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) inquiring about plans, budgets and timetables. Other labs throughout the United States and around the world are working on treatment measures or a possible vaccine for the virus.



As the World Bank in Geneva warns that the fight for Ebola is being lost, the UN pleaded for more money to combat the disease. Deaths from Ebola have now topped 4,500, with the vast Majority in West Africa.  Many countries are concerned about potential victims traveling and exposing others to the disease. In early October, a healthcare worker who helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, traveled by plane while infected with the Ebola virus. Another health care worker who had direct contact with clinical specimens of the Ebola victim boarded a cruise ship in October. Although she showed no symptoms of the disease, she was isolated in the Carnival Magic ship till it could be returned to Dallas, Texas.

Dozens of people around the United States are being monitored for symptoms of Ebola. Victims of the virus can take from 2 to 21 days to exhibit symptoms of the disease.

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