"Experimental Serum" To Be Used On American Woman Fighting Ebola

Update: A dose of “experimental serum” will be used on Nancy Writebol, a North Carolina-based missionary who contracted the deadly virus in Liberia.

1. UPDATE —July 31, 2014 1:22 p.m. ET: A dose of “experimental serum” that arrived in Liberia on Wednesday is set to be used on Nancy Writebol, one of two American missionaries fighting Ebola in Monrovia, according to a statement by Samaritan’s Purse.

Stringer / Reuters

Both Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly, who are members of Samaritan’s Purse involved in treating Ebola victims in Liberia, contracted the virus and are currently in a “stable but grave condition,” with Brantly taking a slight turn for the worse overnight, the organization said.

“Yesterday, an experimental serum arrived in the country, but there was only enough for one person. Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse in the statement. “However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care. The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”

2. The son of a North Carolina-based missionary in Liberia told NBC’s Today show that his mother was fighting the Ebola virus after testing positive for the deadly illness on Friday, July 25.

Nancy Writebol, an American hygienist employed by Serving in Mission (SIM), is in isolation at Samaritan’s Purse care center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Writebol and her husband, David, are missionaries who have been working in the region for decades, according to Today. They have been living in Monrovia since August 2013, CNN reported.

3. Nancy’s son Jeremy Writebol told Today that his mom was “fighting through it” and “working real hard to get through this.”

Nancy was part of a joint SIM and Samaritan’s Purse team treating Ebola victims in Monrovia. She was involved in decontaminating medical workers who had direct contact with people fighting the Ebola virus.

Jeremy said his mother was helping the doctors and medical staff contain the deadly virus and “serving them as best she could.”

4. Nancy is stable and is “able to move around on her own,” said Jeremy. She is being given plenty of fluids.

There were concerns that Nancy’s husband, David, who was in close contact with her before she went into isolation, may have contracted the virus. But Jeremy said his father has been checking his temperature every six hours, and is “strong and healthy right now.”

5. Dr. Kent Brantley, 33, an Indianapolis-based member of Samaritan’s Purse who was treating Ebola victims in Monrovia, was also infected.

Handout / Reuters

Both Writebol and Brantly “remain in serious condition,” according to a statement issued Wednesday by Samaritan’s Purse.

6. Humanitarian agencies, including the Peace Corps and Samaritan’s Purse, are arranging for hundreds of volunteers to leave West Africa as a precaution against what is being called the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

Handout / Reuters

More than 300 Peace Corps workers will temporarily leave Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, which have been most affected by the deadly virus, CNN reported. Samaritan’s Purse is planning to remove all nonessential workers from Liberia, the Associated Press reported.

The disease — which has no cure — has killed at least 672 people, according to the World Health Organization. Around 800 to 1,200 cases of Ebola have been detected in the region.

correction

A previous version of this story’s headline incorrectly said the Peace Corps and other aid organizations were pulling volunteers out of East Africa. The organizations are actually removing them from West Africa.

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