On Monday, I reported that the World Health Organization would be deciding whether or not it should go ahead and give trials of a new – and, as of yet, unapproved – medicine for treating Ebola. As I explained, the drug, called ZMapp, was actually produced using biotechnology.
Two Americans were given ZMapp and seem to be recovering. However, a Spanish priest was also given the drug, sadly, passed away.
Unfortunately, it takes quite a while to make enough of the serum for a treatment, because the biotech used in the process means we have to wait for the plant to grow. Nonetheless, WHO has decided that getting people the medicine, even considering the potential for unknown side effects, was worth the risk. Over 1,000 people have died from the virus and it continues to spread.
WHO released this statement:
The large number of people affected by the 2014 west Africa outbreak, and the high case-fatality rate, have prompted calls to use investigational medical interventions to try to save the lives of patients and to curb the epidemic.
The Liberian government officially requested the FDA send them sample doses of the serum. The FDA has agreed to do so.
If you’d like to see more about how the serum is made, you can see a video here on CNN.