Tuesday 21 October 2014

Doctor given experimental Ebola drug dies

Published 25/08/2014 | 13:49

A doctor given an experimental drug to fight Ebola has died, Liberia's information minister says.

Lewis Brown confirmed the death of Dr Abraham Borbor, the deputy chief medical doctor at the country's largest hospital.

Dr Borbor "was showing signs of improvement but yesterday he took a turn for the worse", Mr Brown said.

He was one of three Liberian health workers to receive the untested ZMapp drug. Only five people in the world have received the experimental medicine.

Two American health workers who took it survived and have been discharged from an Atlanta hospital.

A Spanish priest who received it died and there is no update on two other Liberians who took doses of the drug.

Health experts caution that it has never been tested in humans before and it is unclear whether it works. The small supply is now said to be exhausted, and it is expected to be months before more can be produced by its US maker.

The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 1,400 people across West Africa. There is no proven vaccine or cure for the disease that can cause a grisly death with bleeding from the eyes, mouth and ears.

The virus can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of the sick or from touching victims' bodies, leaving doctors and other health care workers most vulnerable to contracting it.

Experts have noted the huge gap between the treatment the two Americans received at an Atlanta hospital, where five infectious disease experts and 21 nurses provided rigorous care, and that available in West Africa, where even basics such as sterile fluids can be in short supply.

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