An American doctor working in West Africa and another health care worker, also American, who contracted Ebola there have both received experimental treatments for the deadly viral disease, according to news reports.
Nancy Writebol, a worker with the charity Samaritan's Purse, received an experimental serum, and Dr. Kent Brantly, from the same charity, received a blood transfusion from a patient who recovered from Ebola, according to NBC News. One or both of the health care workers are also being flown to an isolation unit in an American hospital for treatment, according to news reports.
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Though there are conflicting reports, and no one is saying exactly what the experimental serum is, its likely that both of the reported methods contained antibodies to the Ebola virus, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Delivering antibodies to a patient could slow the virus's replication, and give the immune system time to recover.