An article in the weekend Wall Street Journal by Scott Gottlieb and Tevi Troy provides sophisticated, knowledgeable advice on what the government should be doing about Ebola. However, the question I raised in a post on Friday (see below) has still not been addressed: where is the new coverage emphasis on finding and promulgating treatments and cures (as well as vaccines)?
Yes, there has been some modest coverage, as in the New York Times story today, in the very last paragraph of a story mostly about medical supplies getting held up in Sierra Leone, Adam Nossitger mentions Rick Sacra, an American aid worker who was successfully treated and released in September after isolation in a Nebraska Medical Center unit: “Sacra received an experimental Tekmira Pharmaceutical drug called TKM-Ebola, as well as two blood transfusions from another American aid worker who recovered from Ebola at an Atlanta hospital.”
So here we have two pregnant news items, badly neglected: 1) an experimental drug has been used and worked, and 2)blood transfusions from patients who have been cured also have been used, apparently with good results.
There are reasons, I know, that the experimental drug supposedly cannot be rapidly reproduced and manufactured in quantity. Those reasons should be investigated. So should possible treatments that might be developed in weeks and months rather than years; what do we know about them? Also, what do we know about the efficacy of blood transfusions from patients who got well on their own or were cured?
Ebola is a big news story that somehow is not being reported in a complete fashion.
UPDATE: The Guardian reports that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, near death, is now receiving the experimental, multi-purpose anti-viral drug brincidofovir, produced by Chimerix of North Carolina.