Scientists Advise US to Find Ebola Cure in Victims’ Blood
A group of notable scientists said the United States should chart a new course in its efforts to develop Ebola drugs and vaccines by using antibodies found in the blood of people who have beaten the disease.
The scientists’ proposal, created in part by three Nobel laureates in medicine, calls for the use of a ‘convalescent serum’ of survivors’ blood, according to an exclusive Reuters report. Although the recommendation represents a novel approach to battling the deadly infection, the practice of passive immunization dates back to the 19th century.
In their proposal, the scientists urged using advanced technologies to find as many as thousands of Ebola antibodies, identify their genetic makeups, grow and cultivate them in laboratories and then mix them together in a cocktail to act as a single treatment.
UN Ebola Chief Expresses Guarded Optimism About End to Outbreak
In an interview with the Associated Press, the United Nations’ Ebola chief said recent events have him hopeful that the outbreak in Western Africa could end in 2015.
However, Dr. David Nabarro added that the fight to contain the disease still has a long way to go.
‘Until the last case of Ebola is treated is under treatment, we have to stay on full alert,’ Nabarro told the A.P. ‘It’s still bad.’
Nabarro also said the number of beds for treatment of the disease has increased fivefold in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. He credited a massive world outreach for the improvements.
While Nabarro expressed optimism, the head of the U.N. mission to fight Ebola in Western Africa said the organization did not have the capacity to successfully battle the disease.
Tony Banbury said transmissions of the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remained ‘persistent and widespread, particularly in the capital cities.’
Banbury’s admission is especially troubling given the number of deployable mobile hospitals, disaster medical facilities, and medical shelters and tents available for use.
WHO Says Ebola Infection Rate Slowing in Liberia, Lowers Death Toll
Some of the regions hit hardest by the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history are seeing improvements. The World Health Organization noted a slowdown of infections in Liberia, though incidences of infections continue to rise in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The WHO also lowered the number of deaths attributed to Ebola to 4,818.