An experimental serum against Ebola virus —- enough for one patient —- arrived in Liberia yesterday. The problem: There are two U.S. aid workers who are in grave condition after they contracted the virus.
There had to be a choice made about which aid worker would receive the serum — Dr. Kent Brantly, a doctor who was helping patients in the country through the U.S. organization Samaritan’s Purse, or Nancy Writebol, who was working through the organization SIM as a hygienist to help decontaminate people entering and leaving the isolation ward at ELWA Hospital.
“Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol,” Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement. “However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care. The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa — the worst Ebola outbreak in history — has now killed 729 people, according to figures released on July 31. Deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Liberia has shut down schools and put out an order for public servants to stay home in efforts to curb spread of the virus, and Sierra Leone is working to place sick patients under quarantine, CBS News reported.
The Peace Corps is also evacuating hundreds of volunteers from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Samaritan's Purse is also evacuating "all but the most essential personnel to their home countries," according to a statement from the organization.
The exact serum that was shipped to Liberia has not been identified, according to NBC News.