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|9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by Allwility: 4:44am On Aug 06, 2014|
Two American missionary workers infected with the
deadly Ebola virus were given an experimental drug
that seems to have saved their lives.
Dr. Kent Brantly was given the medication, ZMapp,
shortly after telling his doctors he thought he would
die, according to a source familiar with his case. Within
an hour, doctors say his symptoms -- labored
breathing and a widespread rash -- dramatically
improved. Nancy Writebol, another missionary
working with Samaritan's Purse, received two doses of
the medication and has also shown significant
improvement, sources say.
As there is no proven treatment and no vaccine for
Ebola, this experimental drug is raising lots of
1. Who makes the drug?
The drug was developed by the biotech firm Mapp
Biopharmaceutical Inc., which is based in San Diego.
The company was founded in 2003 "to develop novel
pharmaceuticals for the prevention and treatment of
infectious diseases, focusing on unmet needs in global
health and biodefense," according to its website.
Mapp Biopharmaceutical has been working with the
National Institutes of Health and the Defense Threat
Reduction Agency, an arm of the military responsible
for countering weapons of mass destruction, to
develop an Ebola treatment for several years.
2. Are there other experimental Ebola drugs out there?
Yes. In March, the NIH awarded a five-year, $28 million
grant to establish a collaboration between researchers
from 15 institutions who were working to fight Ebola.
"A whole menu of antibodies have been identified as
potentially therapeutic, and researchers are eager to
figure out which combinations are most effective and
why," a news release about the grant said.
Tekmira, a Vancouver-based company that has a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to
develop an Ebola drug, began Phase 1 trials with its
drug in January. But the FDA recently halted the trial,
asking for more information.
At least one potential Ebola vaccine has been tested in
healthy human volunteers, according to Thomas
Geisbert, a leading researcher at the University of
Texas Medical Branch. And last week, the NIH
announced a safety trial of another Ebola vaccine will
start as early as September.
3. How does ZMapp work?
Antibodies are proteins used by the immune system to
mark and destroy foreign, or harmful, cells. A
monoclonal antibody is similar, except it's engineered
in a lab so it will attach to specific parts of a dangerous
cell, according to the Mayo Clinic, mimicking your
immune system's natural response. Monoclonal
antibodies are used to treat many different types of
Sources told CNN the medicine given to Brantly and
Writebol abroad was a three-mouse monoclonal
antibody, meaning that mice were exposed to
fragments of the Ebola virus and then the antibodies
generated within the mice's blood were harvested to
create the medicine.
However, the drug can also be produced with proteins
made from tobacco plants. ZMapp manufacturer
Kentucky BioProcessing in Owensboro has been
working with Samaritan's Purse and Emory University
Hospital to provide limited quantities of the drug to
Emory, according to company spokesman David
4. Why did American missionary workers get the drug?
Many have asked why these two workers received the
experimental drug when so many -- around 1,600 --
others in West Africa also have the virus.
The World Health Organization says it was not involved
in the decision to treat Brantly and Writebol. Both
patients had to give consent to receive the drug,
knowing it had never been tested in humans before.
The process by which the medication was made
available to the American patients may have fallen
under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's
"compassionate use" regulation, which allows access
to investigational drugs outside clinical trials.
5. Did doctors know it would work?
No. The drug had shown promise in primates, but even
in those experiments, just eight monkeys received the
treatment. In any case, the human immune system can
react differently than primates', which is why drugs are
required to undergo human clinical trials before being
approved by government agencies for widespread use.
The two Americans' cases will be studied further to
determine how the drug worked with their immune
6. Will the drug be made available to other Ebola
It's unclear. Rolling out an untested drug during a
massive outbreak would be very difficult, Doctors
Without Borders said in a statement. Experimental
drugs typically not mass-produced, and tracking the
success of such a drug if used would require extra
medical staff where resources are already scarce.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says scientists have to
be careful about assuming this drug will work in other
patients as it appears to have worked in Brantly.
"Having worked with administering antibodies for
people for a really long time, that would be distinctly
unusual," he told CNN. "As we all know in medicine ...
you have to withhold judgment."
7. Does the company have more vials of the drug?
The company has very few doses ready for patient use,
Fauci told CNN.
"(Kentucky BioProcessing) is working closely with
Mapp, various government agencies, and other parties
to increase production of ZMapp, but this process will
take several months," Howard said.
8. Who paid for the drug and how much did it cost?
We don't know. Samaritan's Purse covered the cost of
Brantly and Writebol's evacuations but did not pay for
the drug, according to a spokesman.
When a patient gets an experimental drug, the drug
company can donate the product under
compassionate use. Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.
might have done that in this case.
Health insurance companies typically do not pick up
the tab for treatments that have not been approved by
the FDA. But they usually would cover the cost of any
doctor fees associated with giving the drug and any
costs associated with monitoring how the drug is
9. Would this drug stop the Ebola epidemic?
If it were widely available, it certainly couldn't hurt. An
effective Ebola drug could help doctors treat the deadly
virus, which is killing about 60% of the people infected
in West Africa. But a vaccine would be a much more
effective tool in stopping this, and future, epidemics.
Vaccines are given to healthy people to prevent them
from ever becoming infected. One challenge with
Ebola, experts say, is that companies don't believe they
could make much money from developing a vaccine,
so few companies show interest.
|Re: 9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by kingk(m): 5:04am On Aug 06, 2014|
|Re: 9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by DaVinChiSam(m): 5:08am On Aug 06, 2014|
|Re: 9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by Afrocatalyst: 5:34am On Aug 06, 2014|
Good to ask questions. Hopefully we'll get some answers.
|Re: 9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by Nobody: 5:43am On Aug 06, 2014|
Quite revealing..the human race definitely has undergone several threats-there was a time cholera,yellow fever,black death were once endemic. Thanks for their drugs.
I know the e-bola saga would soon be a thing of the past,the survival instinct of man is very strong,after all,God said,he gave us power over things of the earth.
Africa leaders should also start becoming responsible,life goes beyong just looting,what if the whites behave like us,I wonder how the world would have been.
|Re: 9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by kingk(m): 5:50am On Aug 06, 2014|
Yomieluv: Quite revealing..the human race definitely has undergone several threats-there was a time cholera,yellow fever,black death were once endemic. Thanks for their drugs.
The world will be a hell.
|Re: 9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by Caseless: 7:22am On Aug 06, 2014|
Under that "compassionate use" regulation which allowed them to give the untested drugs to the american doctors, the law should b 'compassionate' enough to allow the drugs to be given to hundreds who are currently under d deadly claws of ebola. These desperate african victims wont hesitate to take d drug despite its 'untested status' and not minding d complication cos they knw they will die if they do not take d drug, and they will also die if there is adverse drug reaction(ADR) from taking the drug. But it is still better to die trying.
|Re: 9 Questions About This New Ebola Drug. by Caseless: 7:37am On Aug 06, 2014|
Yomieluv: Quite revealing..the human race definitely has undergone several threats-there was a time cholera,yellow fever,black death were once endemic. Thanks for their drugs.dont celebrate yet. Did u see where they said vaccine will b given to healthy people to prevent them from contracting the virus in the future? This how they sell the drug/vaccine and tie us to one foreign aid forever which wil not allow us d freedom to live as we want cos if u do, they threaten u with d stopping of their aid to certain country that do not allow samesex marriage. This is how they keep africans locked down. And don't forget that this outbreak is ravaging africa(that's the plan anyway). The drugs will b made expensive , but will be made cheap to africans by some gov't abroad that might be sending some 'fishy aid' to us. So , i smell 'neo-slavery' that will be executed via foreign aids.
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