The family of Nancy Writebol, one of the missionary medical practitioners that contracted the Ebola virus while on a joint Samaritan’s Purse-SIM team, was already planning her funeral as she lay stricken with Ebola in Liberia amid the disease’s deadliest recorded outbreak.
She and her colleague, Dr. Kent Brantly, who have both been flown to the United States are defying odds to stay alive…and seem to be getting better.
Writebol’s two sons expect to communicate with her soon, Johnson said. The family was considering funeral arrangements for her just last week, days after she became sick, David Writebol said through Johnson.
“Yet we kept our faith, (and) now we have real reason to be hopeful,” David Writebol said in a statement read by Johnson.
Her improved condition may not be unconnected with an experimental, U.S.-manufactured drug, ZMapp, which she and her colleague were given in Liberia, although it has never been subjected to clinical trials.
The medicine is thought to work by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells, reports CNN. It’s a three-mouse monoclonal antibody — meaning mice were exposed to fragments of the Ebola virus, and the antibodies generated within the mice’s blood were harvested to create the medicine.
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Internist and gastroenterologist, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez however said while Brantly and Writebol’s conditions actually improved after taking the drug, the serum shouldn’t be seen as a miracle cure.
“Let’s be cautious. We don’t even know really if this serum is working,” said Rodriguez.
“I’m glad now that these patients were brought to a hospital where so many tests can be done, where they can see the response of their body to this serum. We don’t know if these patients are naturally getting better, or whether the serum is really doing something.”
Writebol and Kent are being treated at the Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, in special isolation units.
1,603 cases of infection has been reported across Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, with 887 of them dead as of Friday, according to the World Health Organization said.