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Ebola Patient Nancy Writebol Making 'Slow Improvement'
Date:8/6/2014

Media reports published Monday said that both Brantly and Writebol received an experimental drug while in Liberia that appears to have helped them recover from Ebola, which has a high fatality rate.

An unnamed source told CNN that the U.S. National Institutes of Health contacted Samaritan's Purse, the aid agency Brantly works for, and offered three vials of an experimental treatment called ZMapp for use in both patients.

According to the CNN source, ZMapp is a drug being developed by San Diego-based biotech company Mapp Biopharmaceutical. Although the medicine has shown promise in trials involving monkeys, it has never been tested in humans. In the primate trials, four monkeys infected with Ebola survived after getting Zmapp within 24 hours of infection, and two of four other monkeys survived after getting the serum within 48 hours of infection.

CNN said that Brantly woke up July 22 feeling feverish and immediately put himself into isolation. Writebol came down with similar symptoms three days later, and blood tests confirmed that both Americans had contracted Ebola.

ZMapp must be kept frozen. Upon its arrival at the Liberian hospital where Brantly and Writebol were being treated, the serum was allowed to thaw naturally, a process taking 8 to 10 hours, CNN said.

According to a CNN source, Brantly asked that Writebol be given the first dose of ZMapp because he was younger than Writebol and more likely to survive. She agreed but once Brantly's condition deteriorated -- he had difficulty breathing and believed he was dying -- the decision was made to give him the first, thawed dose.

The treatment seems to have worked. Just one hour after receiving intravenous delivery of ZMapp, Brantly made a dramatic recovery, CNN reported. He began breathing on his own and a rash that had once covered his trunk faded away. By the next morning, Brantly could take a shower on his own before h
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