Using Survivors’ Blood in Attempt to Treat Ebola?
By BETSY MCKAY in Atlanta, DAVID GAUTHIER-VILLARS in Conakry, Guinea, and PATRICK MCGROARTY in Monrovia, Liberia
Achille Guémou was one of three health workers to survive Ebola after becoming infected in late August while performing a caesarean section on a woman who had the disease but hadn’t yet been diagnosed.
Now, the 44-year-old Guinean says he is considering donating his blood to help others conquer the virus as well. In return, though, he wants compensation such as food or medical care, along with help finding a job in an anti-Ebola campaign. The illness has ruined his status in the neighborhood, he said.
“Before Ebola, I was somebody. I was the local doctor, people used to knock at my door all day seeking advice,” he said. “Now, they avoid me in the street.”
Nearly a year after Ebola began spreading in West Africa, and with a proven drug or vaccine still far off, researchers are launching clinical trials on a product at hand: the blood of survivors.
They want to determine whether so-called convalescent plasma or serum, chock full of antibodies, can help fight off the disease. But they face a number of complexities in carrying out the trials, including persuading survivors to participate. (read more)