How Did US Ebola Patients Get 'Experimental' Drug?

PHOTO: Dr. Kent Brantly is shown in this 2013 photo provided by JPS Health Network. | Nancy Writebol is shown in this undated photo.
Share
Copy

Desperate to save the American Ebola patients in Liberia, Samaritan's Purse started researching experimental treatments last week, according to an official at the National Institutes of Health.

The organization called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which referred it to an NIH employee deployed in Africa who would be familiar with the treatments.

"She was able to answer some questions and referred them to appropriate company and embassy contacts to pursue their interest in obtaining experimental product," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

American Nurse With Ebola Has 'Improved Appetite' and Prepares to Fly to US

American Doctor With Ebola Received Experimental Antibody Serum Before U.S. Arrival

Full Coverage of Ebola Outbreak

He added that the NIH employee was not working in any official capacity for the NIH at the time. She was working for a team led by CDC and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

PHOTO: The Ebola-stricken Americans will be treated this isolation rooms and others similar to it.
Jack Kearse/Emory University
PHOTO: The Ebola-stricken Americans will be treated this isolation rooms and others similar to it.

The experimental drug was manufactured by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

According to Mapp’s website, its Ebola drug is a “cocktail” of monoclonal antibodies, which had been proven to work in monkey studies.

“When administered one hour after infection, all animals survived,” a 2012 company statement reads. “Two-thirds of the animals were protected even when the treatment, known as MB-003, was administered 48 hours after infection.”

When the vials arrived, those caring for Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol could not tell if there would be enough of the serum for both of them. Brantly said Writebol should get the dose first, but soon his condition worsened and doctors gave him the first dose. Doctors realized there was enough for both of them and gave Writebol the second dose shortly thereafter.

Within 20 minutes to an hour after getting the serum, Brantly "improved dramatically."

PHOTO: Dr. Kent Brantly, left, and his wife Amber, right, are seen in an undated photo provided by Samaritans Purse.
Samaritans Purse/AP Photo
PHOTO: Dr. Kent Brantly, left, and his wife Amber, right, are seen in an undated photo provided by Samaritan's Purse.

Brantly was flown from Liberia to Emory University Medical Center over the weekend for supportive care, where he shocked doctors by walking into the hospital.

Writebol is expected to fly out on Tuesday, and her appetite has reportedly improved.

"Her husband, David, told me Sunday her appetite has improved and she requested one of her favorite dishes ? Liberian potato soup ? and coffee," Bruce Johnson, president of Writebol's missionary group SIM USA, said in a statement.

PHOTO: This photo provided by Jeremy Writebol shows his parents, David and Nancy Writebol, who are Christian missionaries in Liberia. Nancy Writebol is one of two Americans working for a missionary group in Liberia that have been diagnosed with Ebola.
Courtesy Jeremy Writebol/AP Photo
PHOTO: This photo provided by Jeremy Writebol shows his parents, David and Nancy Writebol, who are Christian missionaries in Liberia. Nancy Writebol is one of two Americans working for a missionary group in Liberia that have been diagnosed with Ebola.

Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just "star" this story in ABC News' phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...