WHO recommends using Ebola survivors' blood to treat others

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WHO Recommends Using Ebola Survivors' Blood To Treat Others

The World Health Organization announced Friday it has approved the use of blood transfusions to combat Ebola.

Blood from survivors contains antibodies that could help current patients fight the disease. The decision comes after a two-day meeting of WHO officials in Geneva, where they discussed the use of experimental treatments.

Voice of America quotes the WHO's assistant director-general, who says the organization is moving faster than usual, having developed its latest treatment protocols in just days.

"With any other clinical trial that I know of, you would talk about weeks and months ... The timelines change of all the processes that we know for this particular Ebola outbreak."

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Ebola Slums, Kent Brantly
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WHO recommends using Ebola survivors' blood to treat others
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly speaks during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantly looks on during a news conference after being released from Emory University Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. Another American aid worker, Nancy Writebol, who was also infected with the Ebola virus, was released from the hospital Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (R), an Ebola patient at Emory Hospital, stands with his wife, Amber Brantly, during a press conference announcing his release from the hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (right), stands with his wife, Amber Brantly, during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (R), stands with his wife, Amber Brantly, during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly speaks during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (left) and his wife, Amber Brantly, get hugs from the medical team that cared for Dr. Brantly during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (L), an Ebola patient at Emory Hospital, enters a press conference behind Dr. Bruce Ribner, to talk about his release from the hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (left) looks back at his medical care team during a press conference to discuss his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Bruce Ribner (R) announces the release of Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly (2L) with wife, Amber, during a press conference on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly gives a hug to Dr. Bruce Ribner during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (left) and his wife, Amber Brantly (right), get hugs from the medical team, including Dr. George Lyon (center, white jacket) that cared for Dr. Brantly during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (center) stands with his wife, Amber Brantly, and Dr. Bruce Ribner (right) during a press conference announcing his release from Emory Hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly thanked the medical team, his family and Samaritan's purse for their help in his recovery. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 21: Dr. Kent Brantly (R), an Ebola patient at Emory Hospital, stands with his wife, Amber Brantly, during a press conference announcing his release from the hospital on August 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Brantly and another patient, Nancy Writebol, were released from Emory Hospital after receiving treatment for Ebola that they both contracted while working as medical missionaries in Liberia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife Amber leave a news conference after being released from Emory University Hospital., Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantly stands with his wife, Amber, during a news conference after being released from Emory University Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. Another American aid worker, Nancy Writebol, who was also infected with the Ebola virus, was released from the hospital Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantly, left, embraces Dr. Bruce Ribner, medical director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, after being released from Emory University Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
The lifeless body of a man lays unattended in the street as locals suspect him of dying from the deadly Ebola virus, as government warns the public not to leave Ebola victims in the streets in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. A second American aid worker infected with Ebola arrived Tuesday in Atlanta, where doctors will closely monitor the effect of an experimental drug she agreed to take even though its safety was never tested on humans. Nancy Writebol arrived from Monrovia, Liberia, in a chartered plane at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and will join Dr. Kent Brantly in the isolation unit at Emory University Hospital, just downhill from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
In this 2014 photo provided by the Samaritan's Purse aid organization, Dr. Kent Brantly, left, treats an Ebola patient at the Samaritan's Purse Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia. On Saturday, July 26, 2014, the North Carolina-based aid organization said Brantly tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia. (AP Photo/Samaritan's Purse)
Liberia security forces patrol in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberia security forces patrol areas around the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberia security forces blockade an area around the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberia security forces dressed in riot gear, left, control a crowd of people in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A Liberian security officer patrols in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Residents from an area close to the West Point Ebola center, protest as they are not allowed to enter the area leading to their homes, after Liberia security forces blocked roads, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents.(AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Health workers receive buckets, as part of their Ebola virus prevention protective gear, at an Ebola treatment center in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. Liberia's armed forces were given orders to shoot people trying to illegally cross the border from neighboring Sierra Leone, which was closed to stem the spread of Ebola, local newspaper Daily Observer reported Monday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberian Police dressed in riot gear deploy at a MSF, 'Doctors Without Borders', Ebola treatment center, in the rain, as they provide security in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. Liberia's armed forces were given orders to shoot people trying to illegally cross the border from neighboring Sierra Leone, which was closed to stem the spread of Ebola, local newspaper Daily Observer reported Monday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberian Police dressed in riot gear deploy at a MSF, 'Doctors Without Borders', Ebola treatment center as they provide security in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. Liberia's armed forces were given orders to shoot people trying to illegally cross the border from neighboring Sierra Leone, which was closed to stem the spread of Ebola, local newspaper Daily Observer reported Monday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Health workers wearing protective gear go to remove the body of a person who is believed to have died after contracting the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. New figures released by the World Health Organization showed that Liberia has recorded more Ebola deaths — 413 — than any of the other affected countries. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Emory University Hospital police officers clear traffic at the entrance of the hospital before an ambulance arrives transporting the second American missionary stricken with Ebola in Liberia, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Nancy Writebol is expected to be admitted to the hospital, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)
An ambulance arrives at Emory University Hospital, transporting the second American missionary stricken with Ebola in Liberia, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Nancy Writebol is expected to be admitted to the hospital, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)
An ambulance transporting a second American missionary stricken with Ebola arrives at Emory University Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Nancy Writebol is expected to be admitted to Emory University Hospital on Tuesday, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
An ambulance transporting Nancy Writebol, an American missionary stricken with Ebola, arrives at Emory University Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Writebol is expected to be admitted to Emory University Hospital on Tuesday, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
People gather as Liberian security forces walk past in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife Amber leave a news conference after being released from Emory University Hospital., Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO BRANLY, NOT BRANTLEY - Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantly, left, embraces Dr. Bruce Ribner, medical director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, after being released from Emory University Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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The WHO blames Ebola for nearly 4,000 infections in West Africa since the outbreak began in March. So far the disease is known to have killed over 1,200 people. And while transfusions could help combat the disease, they're no guarantee.

ABC reports Kent Brantly, an aid worker who contracted and later recovered from the virus, received a blood transfusion from a child donor who had also survived.

But he also received the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp. At this point, doctors simply aren't sure which treatment was most effective.

And as of Friday, the WHO says it still hasn't officially tested ZMapp or other drugs for viability. A Forbes columnist says "the consensus was that it was too early to deploy these even for human safety studies."

Affected regions, meanwhile, are taking drastic steps to cut down on the spread of Ebola. Al Jazeera reports Sierra Leone is preparing to institute a three-day countrywide curfew later this month.

Citizens will be "confined to their homes" starting September 18 to prevent disease transmission and to give aid workers time to spot and address new cases.

The WHO says more rigorous trials of experimental drugs will begin as soon as pharmaceutical companies can turn out enough supply.
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