An elderly Spanish priest, in a serious condition after being infected in Sierra Leone, will not receive the experimental drug ZMapp because world supplies are exhausted, Madrid health authorities said on Monday.
ZMapp was used to treat several Ebola patients who recovered. Its use is part of a push by drug manufacturers to devise a cure or a vaccine for the disease, which has killed about 48 percent of those infected in the current epidemic.
Manuel Garcia Viejo, 69, was taken to Madrid’s Carlos III hospital at about 0200 GMT after he was repatriated.
Canadian drugmaker, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp, said on Monday that U.S. and Canadian regulators have authorized the use of its Ebola treatment in patients who have confirmed or suspected infections.
The Vancouver-based company said its treatment, TKM-Ebola, has been administered to patients on an emergency basis and the repeat infusions have been well-tolerated.
Meanwhile, independent health advisers to the WHO have assessed that there should be no general ban on travel or trade with countries where the virus has struck, but some airlines have maintained suspensions on flights to affected areas.
The WHO and other agencies say this hampers aid efforts and the ability of experts to reach victims. “The (WHO Emergency) Committee strongly reiterated that there should be no general ban on international travel or trade,” WHO said.
A Public Health Specialist, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, believes that Nigerian authorities have done amazingly well with their meticulous approach in containing the spread of the Ebola virus.
He said this on Channels Television’s award winning breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Academy of Science, like many guests previously on the programme, while expressing confidence in the Nigerian approach, also provided information about the Ebola virus, its symptoms, spread and management.
However, same level of confidence could not be expressed of other West African countries where the outbreak has been more devastating, and this came to the fore during the conversation, with Odubanjo noting that the complexity of the Ebola virus makes it difficult for less sophisticated countries to handle.
There have also been fears, based on World Health Organisation’s warnings, that the Ebola virus could spread further in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Odubanjo blamed this on the time lapse between the late Dr. Enemuo’s secluded contact with a carrier of the virus and his eventual death.
He urged all Nigerians to learn from the late Port Harcourt doctor and the ECOWAS official who both kept a case away from the health management authorities. He emphasized the need to disclose every suspected case of the Ebola as this would greatly save lives.
While emphasizing the need for the cooperation of every citizen for the efforts of the Government to be more successful, Dr Odubanjo urged the media to be more supportive of the fight against the virus by providing more information to citizens.
Having commended Channels Television for taking the lead in public enlightenment on the Ebola Virus Disease, he asked for more to be done, especially in places outside Lagos State.
He admitted that the late Port Harcourt doctor indeed acted unprofessionally, but corrected the impression that medical practitioners do not need much enlightenment. He stated that the situation called for more enlightenment for the health officials, as there was need to take some part of their training more seriously.
The Nigerian Government’s planned review of the schools resumption date also came to the fore. While appreciating the opinions expressed by some Nigerians that the closure of schools was not necessary when other gatherings were not being controlled, he also highlighted the view that Nigeria could not afford to ignore the peculiarity of gatherings of children.
In view of these, he advised that there has to be a middle ground that would be based on how much sensitization had been given to teachers, private school operators and other stakeholders in the education sector.
Odubanjo, who is also the 1st Vice Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, expressed confidence that Nigeria would remain on top of the situation, having done well so far in the Ebola fight.
He noted that Nigeria had not had access to the recently successful Ebola drug, ZMapp, and yet has the highest survival rate in the Ebola outbreak.
This, as well as the fact that all cases in Nigeria has been traced to the same single source – late Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer – meant that the situation in Nigeria was not one to be scared of.
Questions were, however, raised on how citizens would be able to identify the actual level of illness that a carrier of the virus would be in for the virus to be transmissible.
Odubanjo advised that because it could be hard to specify the actual level of illness, it would be safer to keep it at the point at which a carrier becomes symptomatic.
It has also been observed that a number of personnel in some public offices and health facilities attend to several persons wearing a single pair of gloves and thereby touching all with the same.
Odubanjo, frowned at the risk involved in this practice, which he referred to as an act out of ignorance. He noted that it was safer not to wear gloves at all and rather wash both hands after attending to each patient or customer, rather than using a single pair of gloves to touch several people.
He also urged Nigerians at all levels to shun the act of stigmatization, which he said was an unfortunate and highly unnecessary act. He insisted that an Ebola patient who has recovered is as safe as any other person who recovered from Malaria fever. They should not be avoided.
A British nurse, William Pooley, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and was treated with the experimental drug, Zmapp, has recovered and has been discharged from hospital.
The drug was credited with saving the lives of two American missionaries earlier this month. It had been thought that supplies of ZMapp had run out, but doctors at the Royal Free Hospital, in London, managed to get hold of some from abroad and Mr Pooley was given the first dose on Monday.
Further doses are expected to be given to him “in due course”.
Dr Michael Jacobs, consultant in infectious diseases at the hospital, said: “We have had the opportunity to give him the ZMapp treatment that I am sure you are aware of. It is an experimental medicine, we made that absolutely clear in our discussions with him.”
Dr Jacobs added: “What has become apparent to us is that he is clearly a rather resilient and remarkable young man.”
Mr Pooley’s condition was described as “very stable”, and he has been sitting up in bed, talking and reading, and been in good spirits.
There is no cure for Ebola, but encouraging results with people who have been given ZMapp suggest it is the nearest thing to a cure currently available.
It was given to the two US aid workers, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, after they were flown to a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, from Liberia. Both have since been discharged from hospital after recovering.
At least 1,427 people have died and 2,615 have been infected since the current outbreak of Ebola was detected in the forests of Guinea in March.
The American doctor who made a miraculous recovery from a battle with Ebola has spoken out in his first sit-down interview while recovering at home with his wife and three children.
The physician said that he first started feeling symptoms of the disease at the end of July, when he came down with a low fever that made him feel ‘a little off, a little warm and a little under the weather’.
At first, he hoped it was malaria or dengue fever, but the results kept coming back negative until he was eventually tested for Ebola. The positive test means death for more than 90 per cent who catch the disease, but Dr Brantly said he never lost faith even when doctors started to fear he wouldn’t make it through the night.
The disease quickly took hold in Liberia, when he started struggling to breathe and his body was overcome with shaking and violent shivers.
‘And I said to the nurse who was taking care of me, “I’m sick. I have no reserve. And I don’t know how long I can keep this up.” And I said, “I don’t know how you’re going to breathe for me when I quit breathing.”
“Because that was the reality. I thought, I– I’m not gonna be able to continue breathing this way.” And they had no way to breathe for me if I had to quit breathing,” Dr Brantly recalled.
Hope finally arrived early last month, when Dr Brantly and fellow missionary worker Nancy Writebol, 59, were flown out of Liberia for treatment at Emory.
The two Americans were the first to receive ZMapp which helped them fight off the disease.
Within just a few weeks, both were discharged from the hospital after testing negative for Ebola in their blood.
The World Food Programme says that it needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa.
WFP’s West Africa Director, Denise Brown, said that the organisation was currently providing food for around 150,000 people in Ebola-striken nations but needs to rapidly scale that up as the worst ever epidemic of the virus advanced.
Mrs Brown added that the WFP would look from donations from major donors like the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, as well as from non-traditional benefactors such as Arab states.
She, however, warned that the agency’s resources were already thinly stretched by major humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
The family of British Ebola victim William Pooley has extended their gratitude to doctors fighting to save his life for the care he has been given.
In their first statement since the 29-year-old volunteer nurse arrived back in the UK for emergency treatment, his family paid tribute to those who orchestrated his quick return.
“We would like to express our thanks to all involved in bringing our son back to the UK.
‘We have been astounded by the speed and way which the various international and UK government agencies have worked together to get Will home.
‘He is receiving excellent care at the Royal Free Hospital and we could not ask for him to be in a better place.
‘We would like to thank all our family and friends for their best wishes and ask everyone to remember those in other parts of the world suffering with Ebola who do not have access to the same healthcare facilities as Will.’
Mr Pooley, who contracted the deadly Ebola in Sierra Leone, is being treated at a specialist isolation ward at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.
Dr Oliver Johnson, who has been treating patients in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, said his friend Mr Pooley was an ‘extraordinary guy’ who knew the risks involved, but was prepared to take them for the sake of the patients and his colleagues.
He said: “He and I spoke about the risk together and I think he absolutely understood that there were risks involved.
“He also knew, though, that he was well trained and there were good precautions in place, so it was a measured risk.
“But where he was in Kenema a number of staff had become sick.
“He was a hugely professional nurse and a hugely dedicated one, so he understood those (risks) but was prepared to take them for the sake of the patients and colleagues he had there.”
The two US aid workers infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia have recovered and have been discharged from hospital.
Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, thanked supporters for their prayers at a news conference in Atlanta.
Nancy Writebol, 59, was discharged on Tuesday.
The two were taken to the US for treatment three weeks ago.
“Today is a miraculous day,” said Dr Brantly, who appeared healthy, although pallid, as he addressed reporters on Thursday at Emory University Hospital.
“I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with my family. As a medical missionary, I never imagined myself in this position.”
He said Ebola “was not on the radar” when he and his family moved to Liberia in October.
After his family returned to the US as the Ebola outbreak tore through West Africa, he continued to treat Ebola patients and woke up on July 23 feeling “under the weather”.
Dr. Brantly said that he was in bed for nine days, getting progressively sicker and weaker. On August 1, he was flown to Atlanta for treatment at Emory.
Emory Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr Bruce Ribner, said that after rigorous treatment and testing, officials were confident Dr. Brantly had recovered “and he can return to his family, his community and his life without public health concerns”.
The group for which he was working in Liberia, Samaritan’s Purse, said that they were celebrating his recovery.
“Today I join all of our Samaritan’s Purse team around the world in giving thanks to God as we celebrate Dr Kent Brantly’s recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital,” Franklin Graham said in a statement.
Nancy Writebol’s husband, David, said in a statement that she was free of the virus but was significantly weakened.
The family decided to leave the hospital privately in order to allow her to rest and recuperate.
Meanwhile, South Africa, on Thursday, said that non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa – the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – would not be allowed into the country.
There is no cure for Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases known to humans, with a fatality rate of 50-60%.
Both Dr. Brantly and Mrs Writebol received an experimental drug known as ZMapp. The drug, which has only been made in extremely limited qualities, had never been tested on humans and it remained unclear if it was responsible for their recovery.
ZMapp was also given to a Spanish priest, who died, and three Liberian health workers, who are showing signs of improvement.
The outbreak has killed more than 1,300 people in West Africa, with many of the deaths occurring in Liberia.
British scientists have said that up to 30,000 people could have used experimental treatments or vaccines so far in the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola currently plaguing West Africa.
The calculation highlights the dilemma facing officials considering how to distribute the tiny quantities of unproven drugs that are likely to be available in the near term to fight the deadly disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is hoping for improved supplies of experimental treatments and progress with a vaccine by the end of the year, after last week backing the use of untested drugs and vaccines.
Oliver Brady, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, and colleagues have been crunching the numbers and believe the number of people needing such treatment or protection is very large, even under a conservative scenario.
One rare experimental drug, ZMapp, has already been used on two American aid workers and is now being given to three African healthcare workers who showed symptoms of the disease, all of whom have shown very promising signs of recovery.
But California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, which makes the drug, has said its scarce supplies are now exhausted and producing more will take time. It is currently working with Kentucky BioProcessing and the U.S. government to accelerate scaled-up production.
There are other drugs in the pipeline but all are unproven and have yet to clear even the earliest stage of clinical trials. Brady said available stocks were limited to treatment courses for tens or at most hundreds of people.
The American government has promised to collaborate with Nigeria in containing the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, told reporters in Abuja on Monday, after a close door meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, that his government would partner with Nigeria in providing and managing Ebola emergency treatment centres across the country.
The Ambassador was, however, not specific as to whether or not, the American government would supply the experimental drug, which is currently being used in the United state, to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Professor Chukwu said the Nano Silver experimental drug for Ebola, which was provided by a Nigerian scientist was not used on the Nigerian medical doctor that survived the virus.
According to him, the use of the Nano Silver drug had been temporarily suspended for now.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave approval for the use of untested drugs in the treatment of Ebola patient, in an attempt to contain the disease it said was vastly underestimated. It said: “It is a public health emergency of international concern”.
WHO also said that extraordinary measures were needed to contain the disease that had claimed over 1100 lives in West Africa since it broke out this year.
The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, declared the outbreak of the disease a National Emergency and had approved an intervention fund of 1.9 billion Naira to contain the spread.
Ebola Virus was first detected in a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, who flew into Lagos, Nigeria and died on July 25.
Since his death, three more deaths have been recorded, all of which were persons that had primary contact with Late Sawyer before his death.
Following the outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, the Abia State Government has organized a one-day sensitization and enlightenment campaign on Ebola disease for all the civil servants in the state.
This was to create more awareness on precautionary measures as well as attitudinal change towards handling things that involve mucus membranes of the body.
The Director, Public Health and Disease Control, State Ministry Of Health, Franklin Orji, disclosed that the campaign would ensure that Abia civil servants are equipped with adequate and genuine information concerning the diseases. It would also give information about how to check its spread from one person to another.
Some of the civil servants, after the seminar, disclosed that they had learnt a lot concerning the spread, symptoms and preventive measures of the Ebola Virus and promised to put it to work.
Some of them also shared how they intend to put the recommendations to work in their offices and homes.
In the mean time, prevention and careful precautionary measures might be the most effective and needed tools to minimize the spread of Ebola Disease.
The event was a collaborative effort by the State Government and stakeholders in the health sector.
A consignment of experimental Ebola drug arrived by plane in Liberia to treat two doctors suffering from the virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people across four West African countries.
The drug, ZMapp, arrived on Wednesday, in two boxes on a commercial flight from the United States, carried by Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Ngafuan, and was unloaded at the VIP terminal, a correspondent had said.
It would be taken to a hospital in the capital and administered to Liberian doctors, Zukunis Ireland and Abraham Borbor, who officials said contracted the disease while attending to patients, including a late colleague.
The world’s worst outbreak of Ebola has claimed the lives of 1,069 people and there are 1,975 probable and suspected cases, a vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to new figures from the World Health Organisation.
Three people have died in Nigeria.
The United Nations Health Agency said that only around 10 to 12 doses of the drug have been made and this raises difficult ethical questions about who should get priority access.
The doctors would be the first Africans to receive it, though it has been given to a Spanish priest who later died, and two U.S. aid workers who are reported to have shown signs of recovery.
Authorities are also concerned that ZMapp’s unproven status could leave them open to the charge that humans are being used as guinea pigs.
“This is not the panacea to the problem. It is at the risk of the patient,” Liberia’s Assistant Health Minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, told journalists at Monrovia’s main airport.
Information Minister, Lewis Brown, told Reuters that the drug merely offered a “glimmer of hope” and its use was little more than a gamble.
Even so, the clamor for it has been strong, given that the contagious hemorrhagic disease is killing more than half of its victims and there is no known cure or vaccine.
“I welcome it. It is very good. Our nurses are dying. If you bring them the medication it will make them stronger to fight Ebola,” said stationery seller, James Liburd, in Monrovia.