Aug 25, 2014
03:26 PMConnecticut Today
Ebola Drug Under Development by Connecticut Company
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A Chinese UN soldier prepares a truckload of Ebola relief aid after it was airlifted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), on August 23, 2014 in Harbel, Liberia.
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The suspected Patient Zero in the current Ebola outbreak lived in Guéckédou, in southeastern Guinea near the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia. He first began showing strong symptoms of the virus on Dec. 2, and died just four days later. He was 2 years old.
A week after the boy’s death, the deadly disease killed his mother, then his 3-year-old sister and grandmother. Unrecognized, the virus, which has a two-to-three week incubation period, continued to spread.
Two people who attended the grandmother’s funeral took it back to their village, and spread it to relatives from other villages. A health worker contracted it and spread it to yet another village.
The virus was identified as Ebola in March but that has done little to slow the rate of contamination. To date, the disease has infected 2,473 people and resulted in 1,350 deaths.
Last week the World Health Organization said the scale of the epidemic had been vastly underestimated and "extraordinary measures" were needed to contain the disease.
"It is deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to," MSF (Doctors Without Borders) chief Joanne Liu told reporters in Geneva according to MSN.com.
(Above: an MSF medical worker, wearing protective clothing at an MSF Ebola treatment facility in Kailahun, on August 15, 2014. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
The region is awaiting consignments of up to 1,000 doses of the barely-tested drug ZMapp from the United States, while Canada is sending between 800 and 1,000 doses of a vaccine called VSV-EBOV, which has been effective in animals but has never been tested on humans. Results from ZMapp have been mixed, and even if either drug proves to be safe and effective, supplies are inefficient to stem the tide of the outbreak.
“This outbreak doesn't appear to be going away, it's not burning itself out,” says Dr. Eugene Seymour, an MD, MPH and CEO of NanoViricides, Inc., a small Connecticut biotech company that recently resumed its research for the development of an Ebola drug.
The move was prompted by the Ebola crisis in Africa and the fact that Seymour and scientists in the company believe they can potentially fight this disease more effectively than anyone else.