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Liberian Ebola survivor praises experimental drug


MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - A Liberian health worker who recovered from Ebola after receiving an experimental drug urged the manufacturer to speed up its production and send it to Africa, while crowds celebrated in the streets Saturday after authorities reopened a slum that had been barricaded for more than a week to try to contain the disease.

Physician's assistant Kyndy Kobbah was expected to be released from hospital Saturday after she survived Ebola, which has been fatal in more than half the cases sweeping West Africa. Kobbah contracted the disease while working at a government-run hospital north of the capital.

In an interview with The Associated Press before her release, Kobbah urged the manufacturer of the experimental drug known as ZMapp to step up production. The company has said that all its supplies are exhausted and it will take months to make more.

"They need to make more Zmapp and send to us," she said.

Doctors have said there is no way to know whether ZMapp made a difference or if survivors like Kobbah recovered on their own, as about 45 percent of people infected in this outbreak have. The drug had never been tested in humans before it was given to two Americans who were infected with Ebola in Liberia. They survived Ebola and were released from an Atlanta hospital.

However, a study released online Friday by the journal Nature found that ZMapp healed all 18 monkeys infected with the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, tensions diminished Saturday in the West Point neighborhood of Liberia's capital after authorities lifted a blockade that had sparked unrest. Residents living in the area had feared running out of food and safe water on the peninsula.

Liberia's president had ordered the barricade on Aug. 19 after West Point residents stormed an Ebola health center several days earlier. Residents said they did not want sick people being brought into the community, although those staying at the center were only under observation during a 21-day incubation period.

Amid the melee, some protesters made off with blood-stained mattresses and other materials that could potentially spread the Ebola virus.

Lifting the quarantine Saturday morning doesn't mean there is no Ebola in the West Point slum, said Information Minister Lewis Brown. Authorities, though, are more confident now that they can work with residents to screen for the sick, he said.

"They're comfortable with the way the leadership and the community is working with the health team to make sure that the community remains safe," he said.

Liberia has been the hardest hit of the five countries with Ebola cases in West Africa, reporting at least 694 deaths among 1,378 cases. More than 3,000 cases have been reported across Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and on Friday Senegal announced its first case.

A student from Guinea who had been missing for several weeks showed up at a hospital in Dakar on Tuesday, seeking treatment but concealing that he had been in contact with other Ebola victims, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck confirmed.

The next day, an epidemiological surveillance team in neighboring Guinea alerted Senegalese authorities that they had lost track of a person they were monitoring three weeks earlier, and that the person may have crossed into Senegal.

The student was tracked down in the Dakar hospital where he was confirmed with Ebola and immediately put into isolation where he is reported to be in satisfactory condition, Seck said. Authorities also sent out a team to disinfect the home where he was staying in Senegal.

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys of Disease

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exitscreaming August 30 2014 at 10:45 AM

The U.S. Dept of Defense funded Ebola trials in Sierra Leone on healthy adults in January, just before the Ebola outbreak began.

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4 replies
roosterib August 30 2014 at 10:19 AM

I think there is something sinister behind the Ebola virus coming to America. Don't you?

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11 replies
exitscreaming August 30 2014 at 10:48 AM

The U.S. Dept. of Defense has a bioweapons lab in Sierra Leone at Kenema Hospital , which is the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak

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3 replies
tazgadon August 30 2014 at 2:54 PM

Good Luck with the speed of that... anymore anything that's for the well being of this planet and its people drags, if it happens at all...If it involves profit, power, and those who can afford it...they'll get right on it... but if it cost money to fix, and it's for the poor...don't hold your breath.

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jet202 August 30 2014 at 12:36 PM

Those damn drug companies, how dare they come up with cures.

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1 reply
debnaert jet202 August 30 2014 at 2:10 PM

geosafaree.... do YOU have any faith in anything? You must be paranoid!

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Kate August 30 2014 at 11:04 AM

I am so glad for her, and hope that ZMapp really is working, because although we can't just magically create more overnight, we CAN do it in the long run.

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1 reply
missbeesknees24 Kate August 30 2014 at 11:58 AM

yes, we can, and hopefully they are diligently working on this problem, AFRICA is a well populated country and if we let this go on, it will kill thousands, or can kill millions..

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1 reply
KerryC missbeesknees24 August 30 2014 at 2:29 PM

"AFRICA" is NOT a country, it is a CONTINENT with FORTY SEVEN countries! Some African countries are infiltrated by Muslim terrorist groups & ALL of them are financially mismanaged. The majority of food & health aid sent by the USA & other countries is only shared with a few people & resold by their warlord leaders for guns & armaments. The problem with this medication being sent is the fact that they cannot be sure it is working & as you should know, by having to take a few steps back & have the pharmacist or tech repeat themselves when you go to pay for a medication, is that it's EXPENSIVE & add that to the fact that it takes time to make certain medications. I'm not keen on sending a buttload of US taxpayers' money to tend for other countries' problems when we have trouble keeping our own housed, fed & healthy. "Charity starts at home" & "think global; act local" are fitting proverbs for this situation. If you want to send money to African to help; I can't stop you.

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theomegaman72 August 30 2014 at 1:42 PM

We were warned of judgement. Here it is. Here, now....in the form of billions of microscopic bacilli. This is the end.

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2 replies
Mike Keefer theomegaman72 August 30 2014 at 3:07 PM

It is a virus, not a bacteria.

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kcarthey theomegaman72 August 30 2014 at 5:16 PM

Name a plague, war, natural disaster, you name it that the thumpers haven't made that claim about.

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debnaert August 30 2014 at 2:08 PM

This drug was formed by multiple pharmaceutical companies that have ties with TEKMIRA that was experimenting with this possible cure.... A company Based in Toronto Canada along with many Companies in the Untied States.... I just wonder IF these Africans and the rest of the world will EVER EVER learn to THANK the Western Civilizations for all the MANY MANY things we have done for them.... Probably NOT! Maybe the Africans will look to the WHITE people differently NOW!

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2 replies
darkcloudstonite debnaert August 30 2014 at 2:19 PM

The U.S. Department of Defense funded Tekmira for Ebola research. Tekmira injected healthy humans in Sierra Leone with the Ebola virus for testing purposes and then the outbreak took off, so I'm not sure thanks will be coming after that.

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1 reply
hellyon3too darkcloudstonite August 30 2014 at 5:00 PM

No one injected anyone with Ebola. They injected them with an experimental DRUG that might be used to treat Ebola. If you knew anything about how drugs are tested, and what information they hope to obtain, you'd realize just how silly you're being.

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laptop603 debnaert August 30 2014 at 2:55 PM

They do. They feel we owe them something...

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cardiacbuzz August 30 2014 at 2:21 PM

Ebola, IMO, is nothing more than a more controllable [humanicide] than the AIDS virus.

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1 reply
hellyon3too cardiacbuzz August 30 2014 at 5:01 PM

Fortunately your opinion is worthless.

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certmuff August 30 2014 at 12:30 PM

to those waiting for Zmapp- don't be checking the mail too soon- the big pharma is not going 2 rush anything for africa

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1 reply
Mike Keefer certmuff August 30 2014 at 3:09 PM

It takes time to make, as the antibodies that Zmapp is based on have to be grown.

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