Ebola survivor blood shows promise in treatment

Written by Barry Eitel & Corey Blackman on . Posted in Health

Antibodies could hold key to treating disease.

SAN FRANCISCO (AA) - The blood of a single man who survived an Ebola infection two decades ago is showing promise as a key to treating the disease, American researchers said Thursday.

Researchers funded by the United States government announced that they are studying a treatment for Ebola that is based around an antibody, a protective protein, found in the blood of a man who was infected with Ebola in 1995 but survived.

The researchers found that the immune systems of monkeys were able to ward off the Ebola virus after each monkey was injected with the antibody, known as mAb114.

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, published their results in the journal Science.

The donor is identified only as “Subject 1”.

The report said he caught Ebola during a 1995 outbreak in the city of Kikwit, Congo.

After battling the disease for weeks, he survived and then ventured back to help other Ebola sufferers.

Between 2014 and 2015, Ebola killed more than 11,000 victims in West Africa during the worst ever outbreak of the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

The three hardest hit nations -- Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea -- are now all declared free of Ebola but scientists have yet to deliver a treatment.

The new therapy based around the mAb114 antibody is now one of the most promising.

“It’s really stunning that a single antibody can protect against Ebola,” said Nancy Sullivan, a viral immunologist at NIAID and leader of the research.

Other research released Thursday, however, suggests that Ebola can leave long-term damage in survivors.

Researchers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reported that a significant portion of surveyed survivors suffered from neurological abnormalities, including tremors and depression.

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