- Breakthrough? August 4
A top secret, highly experimental serum that was rushed to two Ebola-stricken American doctors in Liberia appears to be working, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported Monday.
The treatment — known as ZMapp — is derived from the antibodies produced by three separate mice who were exposed to different fragments of the Ebola virus. Before being stored at subzero temperatures and flown to Liberia, ZMapp had only been tried on a small group of monkeys — hardly the ideal testing process before being administered to humans. But in a highly unusual move, the National Institutes of Health cut through red tape and fast-tracked delivery of the serum to Drs. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol in Liberia when both tested positive for the virus.
Because the serum had to be thawed before use, Dr. Brantly offered Dr. Writebol the first dose, since the former was younger and presumably more able to fend off the Ebola symptoms. But when Dr. Brantly suddenly took a turn for the worse, he received the first dose — and his rapid response to the medicine was nothing short of astonishing.
Dr. Gupta explains the remarkable effects of ZMapp on the two patients in the video below. --Mike Barry
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