Dr Jean-Jacques Muyembe, a medical practitioner in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has reportedly discovered a cure for Ebola.
Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum was part of the research team that investigated the first known outbreak of Ebola virus disease in 1976. He talks about those experiences and how he and his colleagues are using the knowledge they have built up in recent Ebola outbreaks.
The breakthrough came after forty years of research and Dr. Muyembe considers it as the achievement of his life- The drug can cure Ebola in an hour and about 90% of patients can be successfully cured if treatment comes early.
He and his colleagues have given presentations at more than 50 conferences. He has also published a number of papers. However, his most significant contribution to the fight against Ebola virus disease may be his work on the use of antibodies as the basis for therapeutic medicines, a line of inquiry that is based on observations made during the Kikwit epidemic.
“My team collected blood from Ebola survivors in Kikwit and gave it to eight patients infected with the virus. Seven of those patients recovered, suggesting the antibodies in convalescent blood acted as a protection. This idea was not accepted by most scientists at the time, but I remained convinced that antibodies could work, so in 2004 I took one of the survivors of the Kikwit epidemic and sent him to the United States of America, where colleagues, including Dr Nancy Sullivan, collected some blood cells from him and cultured them. They managed to produce monoclonal antibodies and gave them to monkeys infected with Ebola. The monkeys all recovered.” he added.
He added that finding an effective and safe treatment for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo he is focusing on research into the reservoirs of the virus, because they still don’t know where Ebola comes from.
But for a long time they thought that bats were the reservoir, but they’ve examined thousands of samples and haven’t found it. So they will continue to search.