Texas Ebola patient receives experimental drug

BY NATALI IVERSON - OCTOBER 7, 2014

Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was diagnosed with the Ebola virus after arriving in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, has been administered with an experiential drug to help combat the virus, which has already claimed the lives of 3 439 since its outbreak in West Africa four months ago.

The drug, known as Brincidofovir and made by pharmaceutical company, Chimerix, in Durham, North Carolina, is known as a broad-spectrum antiviral and has shown good signs of fighting the virus under laboratory conditions. Testing will soon commence on animals before being deemed suitable for humans. 

According to Chimerix, the drug contains a molecule known as nucleotide analogue, which is claimed to be the same as the building blocks of a person’s DNA. Once given to a patient, the replicating cells that makes up the Ebola virus latch on to the analogue molecule, in turn stopping the virus from multiplying further.

The company also states that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given them permission to provide Ebola patients with Brincidofovir, and that special requests for the drug had already been received by doctors.

Thus far, the only other drug developed to treat the virus, ZMapp, has showed positive signs with two American missionaries having been declared Ebola free after contracting the virus in Liberia. It still remains unclear as whether they have been fully cured.

ZMapp manufacturer, Leaf Biopharmaceutical, recently revealed that its supply of the drug had been exhausted and that it could take months to develop more units to meet demand.

Duncan is currently being treated at Dallas’ Health Presbyterian Hospital with his condition being reported as critical but stable

Family members have said that his condition worsened over the weekend and that he has been placed on a respirator and kidney dialysis machine.

 

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