Things are starting to really speed up when it comes to testing this incredibly new but experimental drug called ZMapp. If you have been following the news regarding the Ebola epidemic that is currently spreading in Africa, you’d know that people are desperately trying to get some help to fight off this truly deadly virus.
According to some health organizations, it’s currently estimated that this epidemic will probably take many months to stop and will probably cost thousands of lives in the continent. The outbreak is currently occurring in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
But it’s not yet a total loss. In recent weeks, for example, two health workers were given the experimental drug ZMapp, which caused them to recover from the disease quite dramatically despite the fact that their symptoms were already advancing to the point where people do not normally survive.
So now, the race is on to get this drug tested fast and get it produced to save the lives people that are threatened with infection.
Recently, the drug has been the reason for the survival of at least seven people who have been infected with Ebola. And now, it has been tested with some macaque monkeys who have been infected with the virus.
According to the article on the LA Times, the monkeys were already five days into the infection. Researchers say that this would put them about three days from death. After being administered with the drug, the symptoms disappeared and the spread of the virus was contained and reduced to “insignificant levels.”
Sadly for three monkeys for whom the drugs were not administered, these died within eight days.
The tests were done in April and May by the Canadian Public Health Agency’s national laboratory for zoonotic diseases and special pathogens (quite a mouthful, yes). It was led by Gary P. Kobinger who was also joined by other researchers and scientists from the company that developed ZMapp, MappBio.
According to the team, the medication recognizes the Ebola virus and binds to it and according to Kobinger, this was “fantastic news.” He also added that the infection that the monkeys suffered from is pretty close to how humans progress when infected by the disease.
The experiment used a modified version of ZMapp and administered in much higher doses to infected patients.
Patients who are suffering from the viral infection develop symptoms such as fever, reduced appetite, and liver and skin problems. For humans, between the time of infection and death takes about twelve to fourteen days. The great news was, the experimental medication was able to rescue all of the 18 monkeys the drug was administered with.
This is pretty awesome news in the field of viral research and we truly encourage all of the researchers to keep going.
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