| The U.S. news network CNN reported on Monday that Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, and aid worker Nancy Writebol, 60, Americans who were infected with the Ebola virus in Africa, have dramatically improved in state as they received emergency medication of drugs that have not completed human clinical testing. Brantly is currently undergoing treatment in the U.S., while Writebol is being transported to the U.S. The drug they are taking is a new one named ZMapp.
Brantly was injected with ZMapp provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Africa and his condition improved in just one hour. When he was transported to the U.S., he could walk with assistance. At the Emory University Hospital in the U.S., he is now able to take a shower on his own. Writebol also improved after being injected thereafter with two capsule-equivalent dosages.
ZMapp, which had been known only as a secret serum, was developed last year under the support of the Defense Threats Reduction Agency under the U.S. Department of Defence and NIH by MAPP Biopharmaceutical, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in San Diego, the U.S. Established in 2003, the pharmaceutical company is a start-up with a mere nine employees.
ZMapp was shown to have considerable effect in animal testing on eight infected monkeys. Four of the monkeys survived within 24 hours of medication, while two of the other four survived after 48 hours of medication. This new promising drug was not given out until hundreds of Africans died citing the reason that it had not been tested on humans, but was provided as emergency treatment when Americans were infected.
ZMapp is a cocktail treatment combining multiple strains of monoclonal antibody, which were genetically modified to target only certain antigen, namely the Ebola virus. This cocktail was injected again into three rats infected with the virus, cultured, then injected into the patient. It is known that the development of a vaccine is in stages immediately before human testing. AP reported on Monday that the NIH will conduct clinical trials in September on volunteers then launch the vaccine on the market at around July 2015.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that a total of 887 people have died from the Ebola virus. The infected people were concentrated in three countries on the Atlantic Ocean, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, but two patients were also reported in neighboring Nigeria. The number of dead from the Ebola virus announced as of July 3 was 467.