Because the plasma from survivors contains antibodies (substances that the immune system produces to fight viruses), it is possible that by utilizing the blood of those who have overcome the illness, more lives could be saved.
(PRWEB) November 26, 2014
The Ebola epidemic of 2014 is the largest in history as it has affected multiple countries in West Africa. While Ebola is not a full blown epidemic here in the United States, there have been several cases reported and new suspected cases of infection every single day. Although the Ebola virus is not a new phenomenon, it is certainly a hot-topic and a major cause for concern.
On November 24, U.S. News reported that the Liberian president is urging the public to double their efforts to reach his goal of having zero new Ebola cases by December 25, 2014. With no licensed treatment or vaccine for the Ebola virus, more than 5,000 people have died in the outbreak. Current hospital treatment only consists of providing patients with fluids to stop dehydration and antibiotics to fight infections. However, research and information regarding the Ebola virus is expanding as more experimental drugs and methods are being tested.
The next step in this process starts with scientists testing the plasma of Ebola survivors to assess whether or not this is a possible life-saving tool. Because the plasma from survivors contains antibodies (substances that the immune system produces to fight viruses), it is possible that by utilizing the blood of those who have overcome the illness, more lives could be saved. Although several Ebola patients have received survivor plasma and recovered, experts are saying that there is no way to know whether it really helps without an extensive study which is set to begin in the next month.
While these developments are crucial to discovering a cure for Ebola, research and development could not exist without the monetary donations research programs have received. A health news article published by Chron on November 20 reported that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $5.7 million towards a program to increase production of experimental Ebola treatments in Guinea and other affected countries. This donation will help fund Ebola blood survivor research. Dr. Papa Salif Sow, an infectious diseases expert working with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that "the Gates Foundation is focusing its research and development investments on treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines that we believe could be quickly produced and delivered to those who need them if they demonstrate efficacy in stopping the disease."
In addition, Doctors Without Borders recently stated that it would host studies of experimental treatments and plasma at three of its West Africa treatment centers. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases will provide further Ebola testing for the study. The Blood Centers of America, the Safe Blood for Africa Foundation and several universities will also provide aid. About a dozen companies have donated equipment and supplies in support.
When battling an epidemic as wide-spread and deadly as the Ebola virus, every donation counts. Recently, many small businesses, including ALCO Animal & Pest Control in New Jersey, has taken the initiative to donate to fund research and spread the word about the Ebola virus. With the help of individuals, small businesses and large corporations, the research to help treat and cure Ebola virus will continue to expand. If you are an individual or a small business owner looking to find ways to support the fight against the Ebola crisis, visit njpest.com or call ALCO Animal & Pest Control at 973-540-9944 for more information about how you can get involved. To donate to the cause directly, visit donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/onetime.cfm today.