An experimental serum against the Ebola virus was flown to Liberia last week to help U.S. aid workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who had fallen ill with the virus. But until today, not much about the contents or provenance of the serum was publicly known.
CNN reported that the serum is called ZMapp, and came from the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. The National Institutes of Health offered the treatment to Samaritan's Purse, which is the organization where Brantly and Writebol worked. The serum had never been used in humans before -- it had only been tested in monkeys who survived the virus when given the serum within 48 hours of infection. By contrast, Brantly was sick for nine days before receiving the treatment.
For more on the experimental serum, check out CNN's article here and watch the video above.
Brantly, who had initially refused the serum so that Writebol could have it (there was only enough of the serum for one patient), ended up receiving it after all before flying to the United States for further treatment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"We praise God for the news that Samaritan’s Purse doctor Kent Brantly’s condition is improving. We can confirm that Kent was able to receive a dose of the experimental serum prior to leaving Liberia," Samaritan's Purse reported in a statement. "Please continue to pray for Kent, the people of Liberia, and all those who are serving there in Jesus’ Name."
Brantly is currently staying in an isolation unit at Emory University Hospital after being transported back to the United States this past weekend; Writebol will arrive in Atlanta sometime this week.
There is no cure or established treatment for Ebola, only experimental treatments that are still being researched.