Ebola Patients turning to Black Markets to buy Survivors’ Blood warns WHO
Based on a study, World Health Organization (WHO) says, “Studies suggest blood transfusions from survivors might prevent or treat Ebola virus infection in others, but the results of the studies are still difficult to interpret. It is not known whether antibodies in the plasma of survivors are sufficient to treat or prevent the disease. More research is needed.”
It is perhaps this study that has sparked off desperate move by Ebola patients to turn to the black market to purchase the Ebola virus survivors’ blood. Survivors’ blood also referred to as convalescent serum, contains antibodies that can fight off the virus. However, this has not been certified by medical practitioners to be fully effective and any side effects if any been established. For these reasons WHO is strongly warning patients against such moves.
So far, this treatment has been used in the American aid worker, Rick Sacra. He was given the convalescent serum from fellow American and Ebola survivor Kent Brantly. Both of the Americans got infected with the virus while they were giving aid in Liberia.
Unlike the case of the two Americans, whose treatment procedure went through qualified and official medical procedures, their counterparts in West Africa, who have been infected too, are using improper channels. Leading up to the cropping up of illicit trade channels, that pose other dangers such as spreading other blood-related diseases like HIV and STIs.
Last week, Margaret Chan, the Director-General at WHO, said, “We need to work very closely with the affected countries to stem out black market trading of convalescent serum for two reasons. Because it is in the interest of individuals not to just get convalescent serum without…going through the proper standard and the proper testing because it is important that there may be other infectious vectors that we need to look at.”
Medical experts have termed this Ebola outbreak as a global emergency and have come out strongly in criticizing the international community for laxity in response.
US President last week on Tuesday made the announcement of United States plans of sending troops, medical support and more health workers to Liberia. China too pledged to send mobile laboratory to Sierra Leone. For more details on this follow this link.
According to WHO, hospitals in the affected countries are stretched beyond their capacity and has described the situation as a “dire emergency with…unprecedented dimensions” of human suffering as cited by CNN.
US President, Obama said, “If the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us.”
Perhaps even more shocking are the new concerns of the virus mutating into a more dangerous form, and being able to spread through the air. As of now, Ebola only spreads through contact with bodily fluids. Such a mutation could spell out an even more catastrophic outbreak and a big threat to the entire world.