Ebola: Use survivors’ blood to treat patients – WHO tells Nigeria, others

An American Doctor survived Ebola after receiving treatment in the USA. Many others survived in Nigeria

The World Health Organization, WHO, has given countries hit by Ebola outbreak the go-ahead to use the blood of Ebola survivors in combating the highly infectious and deadly virus.

There is no cure for Ebola, and the virus has killed more than 2,000 people in the latest outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Hundreds have also recovered from the virus.

Medical experts say survivors develop antibodies of the virus in their blood, capable of providing a fair degree of immunity from further infection.

Vaccines for the virus could be available for use on the frontline by November, the world health body said.

But as the world’s seeks desperate ways of containing the spread, WHO said Friday that the affected countries should use the blood of patients who recover from the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, in treating other patients.

There are no data on the effectiveness of this therapy. However, studies on the 1995 outbreak of the virus in Democratic Republic of Congo showed seven out of eight people survived after being given this therapy.

As at Friday, 2,105 lives have been claimed by the virus in West Africa, with Liberia in the lead (1,089) followed by Guinea (517), Sierra Leone (491), and Nigeria which has recorded eight deaths.

In Nigeria, health care workers have been adversely affected. Five of the eight deaths recorded in the country were medical personnel. Three were medical doctors and two nurses.

There is still no clinically proven drug or vaccine to stop the virus as many are still in experimental stage.

Experimental drugs such as ZMapp, which has been used in seven patients including a British volunteer nurse who recovered this week, have been assessed.

However, the supply of the experimental drug is very limited.

But the WHO said efforts were underway to increase production, but that it would take several months.

The BBC news reports about 150 experts have spent the last two days investigating how to fast-track promising experimental drugs to make them available in West Africa as soon as possible.

Ebola vaccine trials started in the US this week and will be extended to centres in the UK, Mali and Gambia in the coming weeks.

Healthcare workers and other frontline staff would however be at the top of the priority list for vaccination, the WHO said.

Dr. Marie Paule Kieny, an assistant director general at WHO, as reported by BBC News, said: “We agreed that whole blood therapies may be used to treat Ebola virus and all efforts must be invested to help infected countries to use them.

“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.”

She said that it was the one positive aspect of so many people being infected.

“There are also many people now who have survived and are doing well. They can provide blood to treat the other people who are sick.”

The WHO warned that all talks of experimental therapies must not detract from the proven methods of infection control which have defeated all previous outbreaks.


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  • BlackieUmukoro

    Experimental human beings

  • Nigerians called for ZMapp and other experimental drugs.

    Why have Nigerians refused to call on their ANOINTED ONES (e.g., Adeboye) to start laying hands on Ebola patients?

    • Olu Ade

      …and to find the missing Malasian MH370 since they proclaim they have powers to see things too.

    • Bimbo

      Nigerians are too smart for that, when it’s convenient to claim spiritual attack, they claim it but they know when they need to dump their nonsense and run to hospital.

      • If so, why do they FEAR their so-called MEN OF GOD so much?

        They are CONFUSED.

  • naija-go-beta

    Why cut and paste? Where is Spain in all of this? A priest died in Spain of Ebola

  • naija-go-beta

    WHO has been so slow on this– officials taking tea in fine suits and ties and holding meetings, while lives are lost on daily basis in Africa. I wonder if at all WHO is still relevant though. Besides the prescription by WHO is not new… and bitter kola is helping in Nigeria. Please WHO tell the world about this as part of the outcomes of your meeting

    • Nigerians called for ZMapp and other experimental drugs.

      Why have Nigerians refused to call on their ANOINTED ONES (e.g., Adeboye) to start laying hands on Ebola patients?

  • rinamarthablog

    Well I still think that this virus was created and sent to Africa, if not what about the Spanish priest that died of it, no mention of him infecting others, its makes its victims zombie literally speaking and that’s the symptoms seen in its victims,…Have u guys not watched Americans films of this sort , where a virus is created and the antivirus is created, after releasing the virus through one form or the other, the antivirus is also released and this yield lots of money for that particular company..
    Why were the Americans finding it difficult to release Zmapp to Africa? Even after using it on their own white missionaries… They basically wanted the virus to have a bigger effect so that the drug will have more value….