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Blood From Ebola Survivors Eyed as Weapon Against Virus

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Blood From Ebola Survivors Eyed as Weapon Against Virus


The mounting death toll from the worst-ever Ebola outbreak has health officials eyeing a radical remedy: blood from Ebola survivors.

The World Health Organization yesterday announced
that the use of blood therapies should be “considered as a matter of
priority” amid the outbreak that has killed more than 2,100 people. 
“There is a real opportunity that a blood derived product can be used
now and this can be very effective in terms of treating patients,” Dr.
Marie Paule Kieny, the agency’s assistant director general, said at a
press briefing today.

The idea is not as bizarre as it might sound. A viral infection triggers
an immune response – an attack by the body against its microscopic
intruder in the form of antibodies. Those antibodies block the virus
from infecting new cells, and they linger in the blood long after the
infection.
Dr. Kent Brantly, an American aid worker infected while working with a missionary group in Liberia,
reportedly received a blood transfusion from a child who survived the
virus. He also received the experimental drug ZMapp, which is a cocktail
of three synthetic antibodies designed to mimic an immune response. No
one knows what role – if any – the treatments played in Brantly’s
recovery. 
There is evidence, however, that antibodies against Ebola linger in the
blood of survivors. A 2009 study of blood samples collected during three
Ebola outbreaks in Gabon
found that levels peaked 30 days after exposure and “declined slowly
over several years.” But not all antibodies are created equal, according
to Thomas Geisbert, a virologist studying Ebola at the University of
Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.
“It’s possible that some people have antibodies that are directed
against more important parts of the virus in terms of slowing it down.
It could vary from person to person,” he said, explaining how different
antibodies hone in on different parts of the sly virus. “In an outbreak
scenario, it may difficult to identify who the best donors would be. It
would have to be studied in a lab.” 
And that’s what WHO officials intend to do, explaining that such studies in West Africa
“should be based on the aim to learn as much as we can as fast as we
can without compromising patient care or health worker safety.”

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-abcReport

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2 Comments on "Blood From Ebola Survivors Eyed as Weapon Against Virus"

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Nkwazema
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May God help us and strenghten d researchers

CHILOVE
Guest

An ophthalmologist (eye doc) claiming to have found a cure for Ebola, is the doc now going to be prescribing Ewedu eye drops??..chai .. medical

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