Ex-Ebola Patient Kent Brantly Donates Blood to Fight Virus in Ashoka Mukpo

Freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo gets blood plasma from Dr. Kent Brantly.

ByABC News
October 8, 2014, 7:30 AM

— -- The first American flown back from Africa to battle Ebola on U.S. soil has donated blood to help U.S. journalist Ashoka Mukpo fight the virus, according to the Nebraska Medical Center, where Mukpo is receiving treatment.

Dr. Kent Brantly just happened to be traveling nearby in Kansas City, Missouri, when he received a call from Dr. Angela Hewlett, the associate medical director at the Biocontainment Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center, asking for his help, the hospital added. The 31-year-old doctor stopped to donate blood that was then flown to the Nebraska Medical Center.

“It’s not a likely scenario that he would again have the same blood type,” said Hewlett. “We are incredibly grateful that Dr. Brantly would take the time to do this, not once, but twice.”

The technique of treating Ebola with blood transfusions from recovered patients is experimental. In theory, the plasma fraction of the blood contains antibodies, protective factors and, in Ebola survivors, likely would contain protective factors against Ebola.

Brantly had previously donated blood to treat Dr. Richard Sacra, who recovered from Ebola at the same Nebraska hospital where Mukpo is being treated.

Mukpo, who had been working as a freelance cameraman in Liberia, already is receiving the same experimental treatment as the Liberian patient who was diagnosed with the disease in Texas.

Both Mukpo and Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man visiting family in America, are being treated with brincidofovir.

The Nebraska Medical Center is one of only four biocontainment units throughout the United States. There is another unit at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, one in Missoula, Montana, and a third at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which is where Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol, the first two Americans diagnosed with the disease, were treated.

ABC News' Michael S. James, Meghan Keneally, Gillian Mohney and Dr. Richard Besser contributed to this report.

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