Using an HIV Drug to Treat Early-Stage Ebola

CNN_Gorbee_LoganOn Friday, we posted about Fatu Kekula, a heroic Liberian nursing student who gerry-rigged her own biohazard suit and saved her parents and sister from Ebola. Today, we bring you the story of another quick-thinking innovator whose creativity and courage has saved lives at the heart of the epidemic.

Dr. Gorbee Logan noticed that there were similarities between how Ebola and HIV replicate themselves and decided to treat some of his Ebola patients with an HIV drug:

Logan said he got the idea to try lamivudine when he read in scientific journals that HIV and Ebola replicate inside the body in much the same way.

“Ebola is a brainchild of HIV,” he said. “It’s a destructive strain of HIV.”

At first he tried a drug called acyclovir, which is often given to HIV patients to treat infections that occur with their weakened immune systems. But it didn’t seem to be effective. Then he tried lamivudine on a health care worker who’d become ill, and within a day or two he showed signs of improvement and survived.

He has tried the drug on 15 patients, and all but two have survived. Those who survived got the drug within five days of developing symptoms. While this is not a statistically significant sample, it’s a much higher survival rate than is currently being reported elsewhere.

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