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Why ZMapp is ineffective in some individuals
News > Postgraduate Study      |      Posted: September 10, 2014 18:50:45pm GMT
Why ZMapp is ineffective in some individuals

Director, African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Redeemer’s University, Professor ChristianHappi, has said that ZMapp and other Ebola virus treatments will only be effective in ensuring person’s with Ebola virus survive if they commence treatment early before there is any organ damage.         

Happi, a Professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics, said what makes a difference whether ZMapp can be relied upon is dependent on time of diagnosis of the infection, how soon supportive treatment for the infection and the administration of ZMapp starts.

The don declared: “there is no treatment for Ebola but you could have supportive treatment to help overcome the infection. The supportive treatment enables the body’s immune system could be strengthen so that it can fight the infection.

“ZMapp is not going to work when the virus has been running in the system for long and the damage has already been done. So the earlier the infection is diagnosed and ZMapp administered, the higher the chances of survival.

“You cannot expect the result to be the same when the virus has been running for two weeks and all the organs already damaged and you expect ZMapp to perform miracle,” he declared.

Happi, saying that good nutrition makes body immunity stronger and able to fight infections, however declared that “Nutritioncannot give specific immunity against Ebola.”

The don, who assured that individuals affected by Ebola virus would develop a level of immunity against the infection, declared that: “There are about five different strains of Ebola virus, but not all of them are infective in humans. However, exposure to one strain can actually confers on you some level of protection, and you are better off than someone not exposed at all.”

On development of Ebola vaccine, Happi, said there was the need for the study of Ebola survivors in Nigeria to understand their body immunity.

While saying Nigeria will need to take a lead in coming up with ideas to develop the vaccine, he added that facilities to develop the vaccine should not be seen as a barrier to its production but that first scientist should come up with ideas on developing an appropriate vaccine against Ebola.

“If they have the best facility in the whole world, if they are bereaved of ideas, nothing can come forth from those facilities,” he concluded.

ZMapp Ebola Treatment: What to know about the experimental drug

• It is created from a tobacco-plant strain found in Australia. The plants are altered specifically for the serum and then harvested and ground into the green mix used in the serum doses. The plants serve as an ideal place to grow the massive amounts of the antibodies needed for the treatment.

•The ZMapp cocktail offered monkeys a 100 percent survival rate a full day after exposure and 50 percent after two days. Ideally, the body’s immune system can vigilantly fight off the virus once the antibodies from the serum are present in the blood system. The treatment offers an artificial immune response to the virus, and the lab-made antibodies then fight the infection by sticking to the Ebola virus.

•ZMapp was created at Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s plant in Kentucky in the United States where a small amount of it still exists. The process to create the treatment is extremely expensive and the serum remains in an experimental stage. Producing enough ZMapp for human trials would take at least two months.

•Experts are not sure whether it will work on a large scale. Although medical professionals say that ZMapp could in theory be used to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, officials continue to remind people that other than the two American patients, no human testing has been done with the vaccine and it has not been approved to be used on humans in North America or anywhere else.

•Medical professionals say that ZMapp say until the human trials are completed; the potential side effects will remain unknown. Doctors working with the two American that recovered after ZMapp was administered said there is no way to immediately connect the patients’ improvement to the vaccine. Their improvement, they suggested could be the result of their immune systems naturally combating the virus


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