Public Release: 

The Lancet: Doctor who survived Ebola received experimental drug treatment

The Lancet

A Ugandan doctor, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, survived after being flown to Germany for aggressive treatment involving a new drug under clinical development for vascular leakage [1]. Dr Timo Wolf and colleagues, from University Hospital Frankfurt in Germany, detail the successful intensive-care treatment the doctor received under biosafety level 4 conditions in an Article published in The Lancet.

On 28 September, 2014, the 38-year old doctor, who was in charge of an Ebola virus treatment unit in Lakka, Sierra Leone, developed a fever and diarrhoea. He tested positive for the virus on the same day. The doctor was airlifted to Frankfurt University Hospital on the 5th day of his illness and admitted to a specialised isolation unit.

Within 72 hours of admission he developed signs of vascular leakage and severe multi-organ failure, including the lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. He was placed on a ventilator and on kidney dialysis, and was given antibiotics together with a 3-day course of an experimental drug called FX06--a fibrin-derived peptide [2] that has been shown to reduce vascular leakage and its complications in mice with Dengue hemorrhagic shock.

A marked improvement in vascular and respiratory function was seen under the combined measures of intensive care and drug treatment. After a 30-day observation period, no Ebola virus genetic material was detected in the patient's blood plasma. The patient was released from hospital and is now with his family.

"Even though the patient was critically ill, we were able to support him long enough for his body to start antibody production and for the virus to be cleared by his body's defences"*, explains Dr Wolf.

"In terms of improving treatment for Ebola patients, we have shown how intensive care medicine can successfully be applied under strict isolation conditions", adds senior author Professor Zacharowski, head of the Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine at Frankfurt University Hospital."*

The authors conclude by calling for FX06 to be evaluated in clinical trials.

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Notes

*Quotes direct from authors and cannot be found in text of Article.

[1] Vascular leakage is the loss of fluid from blood vessels into the tissue due to the damage of the "lining" of the vessels.

[2] FX06 is a peptide that binds to VE-cadherin, a target on the surfaces of endothelial cells (which form the inner cell layer of blood vessels), and is believed to have a role in stabilizing the endothelium.

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