Texas missionary diverts experimental Ebola serum to another missionary

(AP Photo/JPS Health Network)
(AP Photo/JPS Health Network)

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A medical missionary from Texas who’s fighting for his life because of the deadly Ebola virus has refused an experimental treatment so it can be given to another missionary.

Dr. Kent Brantly of Texas and Nancy Writebol, a North Carolina-based missionary, are both sick with Ebola.

The Christian mission organization SIM says Writebol is in stable but serious condition and is receiving an experimental treatment that doctors hope will better address her condition.

Brantly is a missionary with another mission organization, Samaritan’s Purse. Its president, Franklin Graham, says there was only enough of the experimental serum for one patient, so Brantly asked that it be given to Writebol.

Instead, Graham says Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of the doctor’s care.

Giving a survivor’s blood to a patient might be aimed at seeing whether any antibodies the survivor made to the virus could help someone else fight off the infection. This approach has been tried in previous Ebola outbreaks with mixed results.

At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. is looking into options to bring Brantly and Writebol back to the United States. Officials at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital said they expected one of the Americans to be transferred there “within the next several days.” The hospital declined to identify which aid worker, citing privacy laws.

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/special-hospital-unit-readies-ebola-patient-n169951

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