African Outlook Online

Farouk Martins Aresa

Ebola Success In Nigeria Boost Blood Serum Antibodies Study

Ebola Success In Nigeria Boost Blood Serum Antibodies Study

By Farouk Martins Aresa

It has been over twenty one days since the zero carrier of Ebola virus landed in Lagos, Nigeria. The medical team must be commended for the cautious optimism they have created with their management and treatment of Ebola patients.

The regrettable cost is the few dedicated members of their team that have lost their lives in the process. If there is any place a cautious preliminary success can be recorded, it should be nowhere else but in Africa.


The reason may be obvious; Africa has the largest population of Ebola patients with antibodies in their blood serums. This is very essential for research and treatment. Lagos State was the first to reject the colloidal-silver euphoria ordered because the medical scientific community was communicating with the politicians. In a way Nigerians were lucky that Mr. Sawyer came to Lagos, it could have been worse. He could have slipped into areas not as medically proficient.


Nigeria must build on this little success on a long road to treatment and cure for Ebola, Marburg, AIDs and other viruses that have defied the world, especially those endemic in our environment. The most essential base upon which anyone can develop and produce more antibodies in large quantities must start with those that have survived the virus. Once the virus antibody is studied and understood, it can be cloned for treatment and denatured for passive vaccine.


Africans must stop this begging mentality and take the bull by the horn. There are more people in Africa with Ebola antibodies in their blood serum than anywhere in the whole world. Yet on a daily basis some African countries are trying to blackmail other countries to give experimental serum and antibodies we already have in abundance from patients that have survived Ebola.


Let us be clear. When medical scientists are talking about blood serum and antibodies, they are referring to the blood serum of those that have survived Ebola and have antibodies as a result. Nowhere in the world do we have more survivals of Ebola virus than in Africa. These Africans that have these antibodies in their blood serums are the ones being studied by all scientists just as our African medical scientists that work closely with the patients in the endemic areas.


Those of us that find this complicated must understand that vaccines are used to stimulate and develop our natural antibodies. The simplest way to put it is by introducing a dead or treated live virus that has been rendered impotent to prevent damages after series of deactivations. The process is complicated but the result is the same. The body reacts to the dead virus as if it is the real live virus and get used to producing antibodies to destroy virus like impotent vaccine.


This is how immunizations for smallpox and all the diseases were developed for which we all took shots as babies. The time and the liabilities for companies assuming responsibilities for the development of these vaccines must not be undermined but in emergency cases under which other countries are working, African medical scientists must step up because they have more patients with the blood serum and antibodies they can use, than others around the world.


Another point we must take into consideration as lay people, is the changing colors (mutation) of these viruses to evade treatment like those cockroaches that now feed on insecticide that is supposed to kill them. The best example is the influenza virus that may be contained by one of the over the counter medicine in one season only to remain stubborn to the same drug the following season.


It takes a great deal of trials in the laboratories, expenses and liabilities to finally produce anti bodies acceptable and reliable. The insurance companies are reluctant to get involved fearing law suits from the public that may bankrupt them. Government is usually the insurer of last resort. If we take all these into consideration, we may understand why the President of United States cannot force private or government research body to give experimental doses out.


This readymade treatment mentality is the same Africans exhibited in other fields. It was public knowledge that the American doctor that survived Ebola was given the blood serum of one of his patients that had survived Ebola. It is true that other antibodies developed by companies in the United States and Canada ZMapp were given. At this experimental stage, all of them might have worked and one may be more effective than the others.


Pressure must be put on the politicians to use some of the funds they are ready to spend on readymade “solutions”; on survivors of these deadly diseases and others. We cannot wait for Marburg virus and other exotic diseases to creep up on us again. It will not be the first time, the same strategy was used to treat people with SARS and the familiar Lassa fever, another viral hemorrhagic fever, like Ebola.


While we cannot blame loved ones that are desperate for the treatment of those that are sick, we must try everything we can to better the success rate in other countries. Some of the patients that were taken home to Europe died while those Nigerians receiving treatment in Lagos survived. There is no doubt that support system for the organs are critical, like dialysis machines keep the kidney’s functions, so is strengthening the immune system with good food.


We must not wait until we are sick to eat well. Don’t disturb bacteria flora colony, otherwise they are unable to check each other's growth. Other socioeconomic or psychological factors also weaken the immune system needed to fight opportunistic infections once attacked by a virus such as Ebola. When we are befallen by catastrophe, little tiny ants start climbing all over us. Those are the opportunistic infections that Doctors warn worsen the case of Ebola patients.