World & Nation

Ebola: What are the treatment options?

Ebola virus
A number of different drugs have been used to treat the Ebola virus in the United States.
(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention )

Doctors have been using several experimental drugs and treatments to supplement the usual care in the cases of five people who have come to the United States after being infected in Africa. 

The two current patients, Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas and Ashoka Mukpo in Omaha, are being treated with brincidofovir, an oral antiviral.

The medication was developed by Chimerix Inc. of Durham, N.C., and designed to fight cytomegalovirus and other viruses, according to the company’s website.

Two medical missionaries, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, received another experimental drug, ZMapp, produced by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. of San Diego.

ZMapp is described as a mix of antibodies that were created to target the Ebola virus. Officials say there are no more doses of this treatment, though there are efforts to produce more.

Dr. Rick Sacra was treated in Nebraska with another experimental drug, TKM-Ebola, from Tekmira Pharmaceuticals of Canada.

It works by blocking genes that help the Ebola virus reproduce and spread. It is also said to be in limited supply.

Sacra also received blood transfusions from an infected patient who survived Ebola.

This type of blood transfusion is designed to jump-start the patient’s immunity, according to Dr. Phil Smith, director of the Nebraska hospital’s biocontainment unit.

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