There is good news among all the bad news we hear daily on Ebola. It’s important to know there is hope for the future. Here’s some things I read today.
Treatment – the Cure
To date, there’s not been any Ebola treatment that can be called a specific cure. Patients can only be treated symptomatically, replacing lost fluids and electrolytes and treating secondary infections. The body has to develop natural antibodies and fight the Ebola virus on its own.
The World Health Organization, WHO, indicates serum extracted from the blood of Ebola victims who survived the virus could be made available to patients in Liberia in the coming weeks. Blood serum with its antibodies taken from Ebola survivors has been given to newly infected patients in recent weeks out of desperation and trying possible cures. Results are now only anecdotal, without enough cases to demonstrate efficacy. But they’re promising.
Success remains to be seen and can only be proven with greater use. Blood serum from survivors was used with some success in previous Ebola outbreaks. With more and more Ebola survivors now, it’s a treatment course that’s definitely feasible to try and may prove to work. Even if it proves to only be partially effective, that could make all the difference for some patients trying to climb their way back to health. http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/ebola/57952/ebola-blood-serum-leads-the-global-race-to-find-a-cure
Major drug companies race to produce a vaccine for Ebola and have large quantities of doses ready for humans in 2015. Johnson & Johnson is said to be leading the pack. This video is encouraging in hearing J&J Chief Scientific Officer discuss not only J&J’s work, but how drug companies are in communication with each other to ensure their collective work is fast tracked. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-22/j-j-says-250-000-ebola-vaccine-doses-to-be-ready-by-may.html
This work won’t help people currently infected with Ebola. But it definitely offers hope for the future for millions of at risk Africans.
Surviving Ebola today
It’s important to remember that people are surviving Ebola today with supportive care.
Doctors Without Borders celebrated their 1000th survivor in the current Ebola outbreak this week.
The Hastings Treatment Center just outside Freetown is a new one, only opening September 19 and staffed with Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses. 130 patients have been released after successful treatment there. Amidst all the headlines on insufficient numbers of treatment centers and inadequate centers, it’s important to remember many people are being treated and surviving.