Ebola: healing through blood therapy

Ebola: healing through blood therapy


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Hope: Ebola patients recover from foreign blood therapy
27.09.2014

The bad effects of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa are reported daily. Now there is a new glimmer of hope. Two people infected with Ebola are healthy again after therapy with blood from patients who have already recovered. The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes for a vaccine from 2015.

Two infected people are healthy again after therapy Two US doctors who were infected with Ebola in Liberia are healthy again after treatment with blood from patients who have already recovered. However, it cannot be clearly determined whether this is due to the special therapy or the good medical care in the USA. But even if it is too early to make well-founded statements about the effectiveness of such therapies due to the small number of treatments, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that these could be a promising option.

Almost 3,000 dead in West Africa The WHO said there is currently growing scientific interest in such methods. The therapy is based on the fact that there are special antibodies in the blood of survivors that could help the sick. Large-scale blood therapy, however, could not be implemented immediately given the poor health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That is why discussions with health authorities indicate which groups of people should initially have access to such treatments. According to WHO figures, more than 2,900 people have died in the current Ebola epidemic. Experts assume that the number of unreported cases is higher.

Health experts call for more help Meanwhile, experts from 16 European countries have asked for more help for those countries in West Africa affected by the disease. As the 44 health experts wrote in a letter published in The Lancet, the European states would have to send medical personnel, mobile laboratories, protective clothing, disinfectants and devices such as power generators. "After months of inactivity and neglect by the international community, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has gotten completely out of control," said the experts. The virus is no longer the only threat to West Africa, but the whole world.

WHO hopes for vaccine from 2015 WHO Deputy Secretary-General Marie Paule Kieny said in Geneva on Friday that WHO hopes for an operational vaccine against Ebola from early 2015. One is currently concentrating on two substances that would be tested for their effectiveness in clinical tests. If the tests are positive, use can begin at the beginning of next year. Mass vaccinations would then not be possible because of the limited supplies. Until it becomes available that vaccines or remedies for the deadly infectious disease are available, doctors only have the option to alleviate the typical Ebola symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, nausea and internal and external bleeding in the patient. (ad)

Image: Maurus Völkl / pixelio.de

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