by Chidi Okoye
The World Health Organization has raised an alarm over the booming blood black market, as infected patients of the Ebola virus disease scramble to purchase blood from Ebola survivors.
According to the WHO, blood from survivors(Convalescent serum) possess antibodies which have the ability to fight the virus. The apex world health body stated that despite the treatment being unproven, it has become a last resort for the infected patients.
The WHO said, “Studies suggest blood transfusions from survivors might prevent or treat Ebola virus infection in others, but the results of the studies are still difficult to interpret. It is not known whether antibodies in the plasma of survivors are sufficient to treat or prevent the disease. More research is needed.”
Convalescent serum was used to treat American aid worker Rick Sacra, after getting blood from Kent Brantly, an American doctor who survived Ebola.
The WHO says their treatment process was monitored, unlike patients in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, who get the blood through improper channels and black market.
Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director-general, said, “We need to work very closely with the affected countries to stem out black market trading of convalescent serum for two reasons. Because it is in the interest of individuals not to just get convalescent serum without going through the proper standard and the proper testing because it is important that there may be other infectious vectors that we need to look at.”
Since the Ebola outbreak began in March of this year, not less than 2,400 people have been killed in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, while in Nigeria, 19 cases have been recorded and 7 persons have died from the virus.