Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ebola and the researchers

Tales new and old from the research front:

I have a feeling we're going to discover more in a few months about immunity: do people who have recovered get the disease again?


Assistant Village Idiot said...

What a brutal natural experiment life is.

Texan99 said...

I read years ago that serum from Ebola survivors was effective, but more recent reports shed doubt on that proposition. What seems more effective is careful treatment with anticoagulents and coagulents, one at the beginning and one later in the course of the disease, though I forget which is which, and close attention to re-hydration and maintenance of blood pressure. But on the other hand there are anecdotal reports that the experimental treatment offered to the two American doctors had dramatic effects at least on the guy.

The evening news continues to associated Ebola breathlessly with an "up to 90% mortality rate." In fact the mortality rate in the current outbreak is closer to 55%, and that's in a set of countries undergoing almost complete social collapse and lacking much of a health system at the best of times. We have very little information about a realistic death rate from Ebola in a first-class hospital--which is not to say that it is not a horrifying and scary disease even in Atlanta or New York.

james said...

That's 55% mortality in the hospitals. I'd bet that's no more than a third of all the cases. And I think the hospitals, provided they haven't lost too many of their staff, can provide enough basic care that a modern US hospital would only add a marginal reduction--maybe to 45%.

If the villages shut off inter-village travel for a few months that would help it burn out in the countryside.

The reports that the hemorrhagic presentation isn't always the majority of cases is kind of puzzling. Secondary infections? Different strains? Side effects of dehydration?

I've not heard what I'd call reliable reports about the two and the serum and test drug.

I have heard plenty of people complaining that "the drug firms are only interested in white people's diseases," but given how few people have ever died from this and how rarely any tests could be done, the amount of research that's been done is amazing.