World on red alert against Ebola

No approved specific drug or treatment available for battling fatal pandemic virus hitting many West African countries

World on red alert against Ebola

World Bulletin/News Desk

No specific therapy is yet available to treat Ebola as the total number of confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever stands at 8,914 in seven countries worldwide.

Although researchers are developing dozens of drugs that will destroy infected cells, none have yet been formally approved.

However, some experimental drugs have been used on infected Westerners.

ZMapp, an experimental drug containing three different antibodies that fight the virus, was given to a British nurse who caught Ebola in Sierra Leone, a Spanish priest, two American health workers and three Liberian doctors.

However it did not help one of the Liberian doctors, Abraham Borbor, who died along with the Spanish missionary.

Brincidofovir, which was initially developed to treat DNA-containing viruses, was given to Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

Duncan died on October 8, seven days after he arrived in Texas from Liberia.

A U.S. freelance photojournalist infected with Ebola while he was in Liberia, Ashoka Mukpo has also been given the experimental drug and according to the Canadian CBC News outlet, he has been showing improvement after receiving Brincidofovir and IV fluids.

According to U.S. program ABC News, U.S. doctor Rick Sacra - who survived Ebola - was hospitalized on October 5 with an upper respiratory infection.

Sacra contracted the fatal virus while he was treating patients in Liberia. He received the TKM-Ebola drug.

Turkish associate professor at Hacettepe University Medical Faculty's Infectious Diseases Unit, Sibel Ascioglu Hayran, told Anadolu Agency (AA): "There are some patients suffering from Ebola in a slight way. 

"It is a spectrum, as anyone getting infected with Ebola does not die but those who are about to be deceased encounter multi-organ failure and hemorrhagic fever."

"Bleeding occurs in their gastrointestinal systems, lungs and skins. The body cannot stop bleeding," said Ascioglu. 

Vaccine fight

Asked about the use of experimental drugs on patients, the Turkish academic said: "These are experimental drugs, it is not known if they heal or not.

"Drugs in use should pass several evaluation phases, but these evaluations have not been made yet. Experimental drugs are given as a last resort."

"There is a vaccine for fighting against the virus, just like the drugs. It is still unknown whether it will work or not and it has not been approved yet. The World Health Organization (WHO) gathered last week and the vaccine will be applied in the future," she added.

Hayran went on: "The Turkish Ministry of Health does its own evaluations. In general, Turkey uses the evaluations of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as a base, instead of the USA's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

"However, the ministry first evaluates EMA approved drugs and then certifies them if they find them acceptable."

She went on: "The Turkish Ministry of Health and hospitals are following latest updates on the issue and also taking precautions." 

Deadly virus

Ebola is a deadly virus causing bleeding in the inner and outer parts of the human body.

Once the virus spreads through the body, it harms the immune system as well as organs and, ultimately, the patient suffers uncontrollable bleeding.

The virus spreads to people by contact through the skin or fluids of an infected animal and through touching contaminated needles or surfaces.

The fatal virus, which gets its name from the Ebola River close to a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease was first recorded, first appeared in Africa in 1976.

The World Health Organization said on October 14 that Ebola cases are likely to run to more than 9,000 in West Africa this week and the number of reported deaths had already reached 4,447.

WHO assistant director general Bruce Aylward stated in a press conference in the Swiss city of Geneva on October 14 that Ebola outbreak was still expanding geographically in many West African countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ekim 2014, 11:05

Muhammed Öylek

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