How A 100-Year-Old Therapy Might Save Ebola Patients

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How A 100-Year-Old Therapy Might Save Ebola Patients

by Wochit 0:49 mins

How A 100-Year-Old Therapy Might Save Ebola Patients

by Wochit 0:49 mins

The experimental treatment given to two American patients infected with the Ebola virus has its roots in a therapy devised more than 100 years ago — serum. Back in the late 1800s doctors discovered they could sometimes save patients suffering from deadly diseases, like diphtheria and tetanus, by injecting them with serum derived from the blood of people who had somehow been able to fight off infections with those bugs on their own. The process has modernized to be sure. ZMapp, the treatment given to Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol after they were infected while treating patients at a missionary clinic in Liberia, is made of three “humanized” mouse monoclonal antibodies, immune system proteins grown in genetically engineered tobacco plants that can home in specifically on a microbe.

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