From Natural News (source): Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, plans to begin stockpiling blood plasma from Ebola survivors, leading some observers to question whether the government is merely being prudent or is expecting a widening of the current outbreak inside the U.S.
As reported by Wired, the plasma comes from survivors who were “treated with a pathogen inactivation system that’s never been used before in the United States.”
Thus far, the news site noted, the U.S. has had remarkable success in treating Ebola infections — indeed, in curing the disease — and that is quite possibly due to the experimental plasma treatments.
The plasma is taken from survivors and comes “enriched in antibodies that could help to fight off the disease,” Wired reported. But in addition, the plasma also has an ability to carry other diseases, such as malaria, that are extremely common in regions like West Africa, where the current Ebola outbreak originated.
Expecting more infections?
That said, “the new system will kill off any extra contaminants that may be lurking in this potentially [life]-saving serum,” reports Wired, further noting:
It’s the same one, Cerus Corporation’s Intercept system, that will be used in a Gates Foundation-funded study of Ebola treatments in West Africa. The pathogen-killing molecule at the heart of the system is amotosalen, part of a class of three-ringed molecules called psoralens. They’re the compounds in lime that cause what some doctors call “Mexican beer dermatitis….”
The report notes that European clinics have long used blood purification technology; and Intercept was first OK’ed some eight years ago. There are other techniques as well, but the Food and Drug Administration has been typically slow in approving the same technology for use in the United States. That is in part due to a lack of demand, Wired reported, but in recent days the agency did approve use of the technique to treat Ebola survivor plasma.
Meanwhile, The New York Times has reported that there is a dearth of quarantines of people coming into the country after visiting the Ebola-ravaged nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Readers may recall that, just days after a New York doctor returned from Guinea and became the city’s first Ebola case, the governors of both New York and New Jersey implemented a policy stating that they would begin quarantining all travelers who had been in contact with Ebola patients in the three African countries.
The move drew protests from around the country — mostly from medical aid organizations but also from the Obama Administration, because the policies went further than federal policies. The White House complained that it would also penalize people who were working to help contain the virus and discourage others from offering to help.
“Absence of quarantines is striking”
That said, since nurse Kaci Hickox flew into the Newark, New Jersey, international airport Oct. 24 and was kept quarantined in a hospital for three days, “no one else has been caught up in the quarantine dragnet at the New York and New Jersey airports,” the Times reported, adding:
The absence of quarantines is striking, not only because both governors emphatically defended the policy as a necessary precaution, but also because most people returning from Ebola-stricken countries arrive in the United States through Kennedy and Newark Liberty International Airports. Several aid organizations have American health care workers in West Africa, a handful of whom return every week. But New York and New Jersey officials say no one coming through the two airports since Ms. Hickox has reported direct contact with Ebola patients.
Obviously, that doesn’t wash, though of course officials are justifying the absence of new quarantines.
“I don’t think we can speculate on whether or not it’s out of the ordinary,” Monica Mahaffey, a spokeswoman for the New York State Health Department, told the Times.
Some have said one possible explanation for the dearth of quarantines is that either healthcare workers are delaying their return to the U.S. or they are purposely avoiding the two airports so they don’t have to be quarantined for 21 days — which, of course, could lead to new infections around the country.
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