Dr. Kent Brantly the physician who contracted the Ebola virus while doing missionary work in West Africa appears to be recovering after receiving treatment delivered from the U.S. National Institute of Health. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, one of the physicians treating Dr. Brantly is calling this turnaround "miraculous."
Dr, Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organization, said Friday in her plea for international assistance containing the virus. "If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives, but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries. The outbreak is moving faster than our effort to control it."
Last week in an effort to save the two Americans, three top secret, experimental vials were flown into Liberia.
Consolidation Case Management Center in Monrovia, confirmed yesterday that he received a dose of an experimental serum before leaving the country. In Gupta's medical assessment, Brantly's "near complete recovery" began within hours of receiving the treatment that "likely saved his life." Reports say that Nancy Whitbol is also improving since receiving the treatment, known as zMapp. To say the treatment was top secret does imply that the people of West Africa are dying in droves while a classified cure lies in wait, yet was available to Americans
This "top-secret serum" is a monoclonal antibody, which when administered eradicates interopers in the human body. This treatment is common and is time tested. The basic monoclonal antibody paradigm is administered to mice, after they have been infected with the disease and once the mice develop the immune response, the scientists then harvest the antibodies for the treatment of humans. This treatment has shown great promise in the treatment of cancer.
In this particular case the three monclonal antibodies known as zMappp had never been tested in humans. Previously they had only been tested on monkeys who had been infected with the Ebola virus and these monkeys survived-although they had all received treatment within 48 hours of being infected with the virus. One monkey who did not survive was given the treatment outside the 48 hour window. So we really know very little about the effectiveness and safety of this treatment. Obviously, this was an extreme dire need or the treatment would not have been legal to use. Dr. Gupta speculated that it would have been FDA approved to use it under these circumstances. A 2013 study found that rhesus macaques given the antibody mix MB-003 within the 48 hour window had a 43 percent chance of surviving, without it their chances would have been zero.
There have been 729 deaths so far with this Ebola outbreak. It is the largest in the history of the disease.
There has been a major backlash by many Americans regarding treatment of the two Americans on American soil. Especially considering that more often than not, it is the caretakers of these patients who usually contract the disease. Only A Nurse has received many comments in response to this news and many nurses are extremely angry "that they have been subjected to this type of danger, with little or no regard for them or their loved ones." Personally I see both sides of this dilemma. On one hand, I understand that the two Americans flown to the U.S. after contracting this disease abroad, where doing missionary work and even though they fell prey to this horrendous fate, they are still American citizen and deserve to be given any treatment that could possibly save their lives. On the other hand I understand that nurses are outraged that their lives and the country as a whole, has been put in jearpardy to save the lives of two Americans who chose to put themselves in this position.
As a nurse, how do you feel about this? Comment below.