While Sierra Leone still battles the deadly virus Ebola, Ebola survivors from the country are donating serum to treat the new cases.
Dr. Sahr Moses Ngevao, the chief investigator of the Ebola convalescent plasma study at the Ministry of Health, described it as a breakthrough in local research.
“This really works… a local solution to a local problem that must be celebrated,” he said.
Yusuf Kabba one of the serum donors his hopeful the trial will encourage patients to seek treatment.
Dr. Calum Semple is the lead researcher from the University of Liverpool for this project. He said that transfusions of convalescent serum from survivors have been shown to boost the immunity of patients infected with Ebola, giving the body a boost that enables it to better fight the disease. The method was first used during a 1976 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has since been used on Ebola patients in the U.S., Europe and West Africa, including at Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)’s Donka treatment center in Guinea.
“This is good news,” said Semple. “It has been incredibly frustrating waiting this long for a test of our work, but now I am relieved that we are using it because I believe it works.” “Other drugs being tested on Ebola-infected persons are expensive, but this is an African study that is very cheap and sustainable for any possible outbreak,” he said.
According to the most recent data update by the World Health Organization (WHO), there were four new cases in Sierra Leone in the week leading up to July 19. Three new cases have been recorded since then, the country’s Ministry of Health said.