Ebola: A Doctor From Liberia Uses Common HIV And Hepatitis Medicine To Save 13 Out Of 15 Patients

Ebola has been a epidemic that has been affecting many people in West Africa as well as other parts of the world.

Dr. Gabriel Logan is a Liberian doctor who works in a Liberian government hospital located in Tubmanburg, which is north of the capital.

But 10 of the staff in the hospital became infected with, Ebola which caused the main medical facility at that hospital to close down for a while. When the hospital reopened, there wasn’t enough space for all of the victims who had Ebola. Dr. Gabriel Logan said, “Everywhere is filled, so I said to myself, ‘Well then, as a doctor I have to do something to save some of the people’s lives.”

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Dr. Logan decided to set up makeshift isolation clinic behind the main hospital for the Ebola patients. He then began to wonder if there were any common pharmaceutical drugs that would work in curing Ebola.

He then tested the drug lamivudine, which is a common antiviral medicine used to treat people who have HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B. The World Health Organization has not approved lamivudine as a Ebola treatment.

But Logan treated 15 patients, and 13 of them survived. This is well above the 50 percent survival rate of usual Ebola cases. However, the sample size is too small to confirm that lamivudine is a valid treatment for Ebola.

Logan then continues to say, “Do you expect me to wait until the bigger study is over? Then most of my patients would be finished. They would be dead.”

Logan has also encountered problems with the burial of bodies that had been infected with Ebola. No gravedigger wants to handle a body that still has a chance of being infected with Ebola.

Dr. Logan has also had to convince the community that they should not be afraid of people who have been treated for Ebola already.”So we are out there talking to [the community], telling them there is hope,” Logan says. “If you are sick you need to come.”

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that it makes sense that lamivudine is an effective treatment method for Ebola.

It makes sense to consider lamivudine as a potential Ebola treatment: It belongs to a group of drugs known as nucleoside analogs, which interfere with the replication processes of certain viruses

Hopefully these findings will help researchers find a vaccine to Ebola.

[Image via John W. Poole/NPR]

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