Guest Post by Robert Wenzel
The Atlantic reports:
From the very sparse web site of the zMapp developer, Mapp Biopharmecutical:Ebola is notoriously incurable (and the strain at large its most lethal), it is overwhelming to hear that "Secret Serum Likely Saved Ebola Patients," as we do this morning from Gupta's every-20-minute CNN reports. He writes:Three top secret, experimental vials stored at subzero temperatures were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save two American missionary workers [Drs. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol] who had contracted Ebola, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment.Brantly had been working for the Christian aid organization Samaritan's Purse as medical director of the Ebola Consolidation Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia. The group yesterday confirmed that he received a dose of an experimental serum before leaving the country.In Gupta's optimistic assessment, Brantly's "near complete recovery" began within hours of receiving the treatment that "likely saved his life." Writebol is also reportedly improved since receiving the treatment, known as zMapp. But to say that it was a secret implies a frigid American exceptionalism; that the people of West Africa are dying in droves while a classified cure lies in wait...[T]he proprietary blend of three monoclonal antibodies known as zMapp had never been tested in humans. It had previously been tested in eight monkeys with Ebola who survived—though all received treatment within 48 hours of being infected. A monkey treated outside of that exposure window did not survive. That means very little is known about the safety and effectiveness of this treatment—so little that outside of extreme circumstances like this, it would not be legal to use. Gupta speculates that the FDA may have allowed it under the compassionate use exemption.
ZMappTM is the result ofa collaboration between MappBiopharmaceutical,Inc. and LeafBio(San Diego,CA), Defyrus Inc.(Toronto, Canada),the U.S. government and thePublicHealth Agency of Canada (PHAC).Among its partners, LeafBio lists:
United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) – Virology Division
Defence Research and Development Canada
From an August 2013 U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) report:
Scientists have successfully treated the deadly Ebola virus in infected animals followingUPDATE:
onset of disease symptoms, according to a report published online today in Science Translational Medicine. The results show promise for developing therapies against the virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever with human case fatality rates as high as 90 percent.
According to first author James Pettitt of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of
Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the research team previously demonstrated that the
treatment—known as MB-003—protected 100 percent of non-human primates when given one hour after Ebola exposure. Two-thirds of the animals were protected when treated 48 hours after
“By requiring both a documentable fever and a positive diagnostic assay result for Ebola
infection before initiating treatment in these animals, we were able to use MB-003 as a true
therapeutic countermeasure,” said senior author Gene Olinger, Ph.D., of USAMRIID. “These
initial results push the threshold of MB-003 from post-exposure prophylaxis to treating verified
USAMRIID’s mission is to protect the warfighter from biological threats and to be
prepared to investigate disease outbreaks or threats to public health. Research conducted at
USAMRIID leads to medical solutions—vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information—that
benefit both military personnel and civilians. The Institute plays a key role as the lead military
medical research laboratory for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and
Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. USAMRIID is a subordinate
laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
The firm producing (part of?) zMapp is Kentucky Bioprocessing, LLC (KBP)
Hugh Haydon is the founding Chairman and CEO of KBP.
Prior to assuming his current role with KBP, Haydon served as Executive Vice-President of Programs for a Washington, DC based consulting group providing strategic and implementation direction to various research, development and commercialization programs for the United States Department for Homeland Security.
According to Kentucky.gov, since 2010 KBP has secured and successfully executed over $30 million in contracts with the United States Department of Defense "aimed at protecting the warfighter and general public from various biological threats."
In 1999, Haydon was presented with the Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal for his service in support of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs.
The big questions:
1. Was the U.S. military only doing research to find a treatment or were they attempting to also develop Ebola as a biowarfare weapon?
2. Were they conducting Ebola research in Africa, which appears to be the case? SEE: A Link Between the Ebola Outbreak and a US Bioweapons Lab?
3. Did they lose control of their research experiments in Africa which has resulted in the current Ebola outbreak?