CNN: Secret Serum May Have Saved US Ebola Victims’ Lives

MONROVIA, LIBERIA - UNSPECIFIED DATE: (NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE) In this handout provided by Samaritan's Purse, Dr. Kent Brantly (R), one of the two Americans who contracted Ebola, works at an Ebola isolation ward at a mission hospital outside of Monrovia, Liberia. Brantly arrived on U.S. soil after contracting the deadly disease and is showing signs of improvement as he is treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. A second American, Nancy Writebol, is expected to arrive in the U.S. for treatment as well. The two Americans worked for North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian relief organization, where they were treating Ebola patients at a Liberian hospital. Liberia is one of the three West Africa countries hit by the largest Ebola outbreak in history. (Photo by Samaritans Purse via Getty Images)
Dr. Kent Brantly, right, is one of the two Americans who contracted Ebola.
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The conditions of the two American missionary workers who were infected with the Ebola virus seem to be improving, likely because of an experimental serum they received before they were brought to Atlanta, CNN reported Monday.

According to CNN, a source familiar with the treatment the two Americans were receiving said three vials of the experimental treatment was sent to Liberia last week.

One of the Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly — who began feeling symptoms on July 22 — was seen walking into Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after he was evacuated from Liberia late last week.

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Nancy Writebol, the second American infected, is in stable condition and will return to the US Tuesday for further treatment, according to SIM, the Christian mission organization who oversaw the missionary trip.

“We are so grateful and encouraged to hear that Nancy’s condition remains stable and that she will be with us soon,” Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA in a public statement. “Her husband, David, told me Sunday her appetite has improved and she requested one of her favorite dishes – Liberian potato soup – and coffee.”

Even though their conditions seem to have improved, Brantly is placed in a special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital that has been set up in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Writebol will also be placed in isolation when she arrives.

CNN reports:

A representative from the National Institutes of Health contacted Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia and offered the experimental treatment, known as ZMapp, for the two patients, according to the source.

The drug was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., which is based in San Diego. The patients were told that this treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.

Both patients reportedly consented to receiving the experimental treatment.

Ebola, which is highly contagious, is a fatal form of hemorrhagic fever that is caused by five different types of viruses. Symptoms often begin with fever and muscle pain and can progress to bleeding from the body’s orfices and shock. Up to 90 percent of people who are infected with the virus die, and there is no known cure.