The black man who contracted the Ebola virus from his African homeland and was hospitalized in Dallas has not been given the Ebola drugs to heal him that the three white Americans were given, the media reports.
Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian resident who was visiting relatives in Texas before being diagnosed with the deadly virus, has not been treated with ZMapp miracle drug. The drug he has been given is called brincidofovir, a broad-spectrum antiviral that officials say has shown promise against Ebola in test tubes and is now being tested in animals, according to a statement from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
ZMapp received international attention when it was successfully administered to Americans who contracted Ebola while conducting humanitarian work in West African countries — one of them Liberia — where Duncan also came down sick: Dr. Kent Brantly and aid worker Nancy Writebol.
That drug’s manufacturer, Mapp Bio of San Diego, says there are no more supplies of ZMapp, which was made in small quantities during its early developmental phase. Dr. Rick Sacra was given a different drug, TKM-Ebola, made by the Canadian company Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. The makers of TKM-Ebola expressed surprise that the hospital administrators are using brincidofovir.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden told reporters that the doctors treating Duncan fear that the experimental medication may worsen his condition.
It was interesting that two major health officials were offering stories to the media about the drug.
Duncan’s family also doesn’t understand why he hasn’t received the experimental drug.
“I don’t understand why he is not getting the ZMapp,” Joe Weeks, Duncan’s nephew who lives with Duncan’s sister Mai, told ABC News.
Duncan is currently suffering and languishing inside the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where he was treated for flu-like symptoms and originally sent home with antibiotics. He returned days later when his condition worsened significantly. Duncan is now listed in critical but stable condition.
Duncan reportedly lied originally about being in contact with his fellow Liberian residents who had the fatal disease.
“Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full teams. As a result, the full import of that information wasn’t factored into the full decision-making,” Texas hospital official Mark Lester said.
The New York Times reported that neighbors saw him vomiting on the ground outside the apartment complex two days later as he was being hustled into an ambulance.
“His whole family was screaming. He got outside and he was throwing up all over the place,” resident Mesud Osmanovic, 21, said Wednesday, according to the Times.
Weeks told the Today show that he actually called the CDC himself because he did not feel hospital officials in Dallas were acting with enough urgency.
“I called CDC to get some actions taken because I was concerned for his life and he was not getting the appropriate care,” Weeks said. “And I feared that other people might get infected if he was not taken care of.”
Duncan is holed up in isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The CDC and Texas Department of Health officials continue, meanwhile, to monitor about 50 people who may have had contact with Duncan, including nine believed to be at “high risk” for exposure.