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WHO Recommends Using Ebola Survivors’ Blood As Potential Treatment As Vaccines Are Tested

News outlets report on the outcomes of a WHO meeting on potential Ebola vaccines and treatments, as well as other news involving therapy research.

Agence France-Presse: WHO eyes Ebola vaccine by Nov as death toll passes 2,000
“The death toll from the Ebola epidemic has climbed above 2,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday, as it voiced hopes a vaccine could be available in November…” (Larson, 9/5).

Associated Press: WHO: Use Ebola survivors’ blood to treat patients
“…After convening a two-day meeting of more than 200 experts to figure out which experimental Ebola treatments should be used first, the WHO said survivor’s blood could be used immediately, tapping into the thousands of people who have survived the virus which has about a 50 percent death rate and no licensed treatments…” (Cheng/Roy-Macaulay, 9/5).

BBC News: Vaccine gives monkeys Ebola immunity
“Vaccinated monkeys have developed ‘long-term’ immunity to the Ebola virus, raising a prospect of successful human trials, say scientists. The experiments by the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed immunity could last at least 10 months…” (Gallagher, 9/7).

New York Times: Two Vaccines to Protect Against Ebola Could Be Available Within Weeks
“Two potential vaccines against the deadly Ebola virus ravaging West Africa could be available as soon as November and would first be given to health care workers most at risk of exposure to the disease there, the World Health Organization announced on Friday…” (Fink/Gladstone, 9/5).

New York Times: Many in West Africa May Be Immune to Ebola Virus
“Although few medical experts realize it, part of the population in West Africa is immune to the Ebola virus, according to virologists who specialize in the disease. Assuming they are correct, and if those people can be identified, they could be a great help in fighting the outbreak. Immune persons could safely tend the sick and bury the dead just as smallpox survivors did in the centuries before smallpox vaccine. Also, antibodies could be harvested from their blood to treat new Ebola victims…” (McNeil, 9/5).

NPR: Health Officials Hope To Speed Up Possible Ebola Cures
“…Officials at WHO say they see two promising candidates for vaccines. Volunteers in the U.S. started getting doses of one this week and safety tests of the other will start very soon…” (Greenfieldboyce, 9/5).

Reuters: WHO urges use of survivors’ serum against Ebola, backs vaccine trials
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday blood-derived products and serum from survivors may be used to treat Ebola virus immediately and two vaccines could be available for health workers by year-end…” (Nebehay/Miles, 9/5).

ScienceInsider: Make haste on experimental Ebola treatments, urges WHO group
“Researchers and health professionals should fast-track extraordinary efforts to give people unproven treatments and vaccines in locales hard hit by Ebola, more than 200 experts attending a World Health Organization (WHO) forum recommended [Friday]…” (Cohen, 9/5).

Scientific American: Blood Transfusions from Survivors Best Way to Fight Ebola
“Treating Ebola patients with blood transfusions from survivors of the disease should be the immediate priority among all the experimental therapies under consideration for this outbreak, World Health Organization (WHO) experts said Friday after reviewing the status of all the potential experimental therapies and vaccines…” (Maron, 9/5).

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