Omaha, Neb – Doctors caring for Dr. Rick Sacra, the patient who contracted the Ebola virus in West Africa, are confirming that the research drug used to treat him is called TKM-Ebola, manufactured by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation. TKM-Ebola is an anti-Ebola virus RNAi therapeutic, which stops the virus from replicating.
“We were pleased that TKM-Ebola was available to treat Dr. Sacra,” said Phil Smith, M.D., medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center. “Although the FDA just authorized Tekmira to provide TKM-Ebola for treatment under expanded access protocols to patients with the Ebola virus, there’s still a very short supply.”
Dr. Sacra received TKM-Ebola for seven days while being treated at The Nebraska Medical Center. Treatment started the day he arrived. Dr. Sacra also received a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor, Dr. Kent Brantly, along with other supportive therapy to help his body fight off the virus.
While TKM-Ebola may have played a role in helping Dr. Sacra recover, doctors here caution against thinking it might be a magic bullet. “We need to carefully assess all the treatments being provided to patients with the Ebola virus,” said Angela Hewlett, M.D., associate medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center. “We don’t know if it was Dr. Sacra’s own immune system, the supportive therapy we provided, the blood transfusion from Dr. Brantly, TKM-Ebola or a combination off all these factors that helped Dr. Sacra recover. What’s important is that we pool all of our treatment resources and continue to study what is most effective in treating the virus.”
Dr. Sacra’s condition continues to improve and he may be well enough to leave the unit very soon. The CDC requires two negative blood tests 24 hours apart in order for a patient to be declared virus free.
This article is provided by: The Nebraska Medical Center