Mapp Biopharmaceutical in the first week of August 2014, made available the drug ZMapp to treat Ebola. The drug has been dubbed as secret serum and is a cocktail of drugs produced by Mapp Biopharmaceuticals and Canadian company Defyrus.
The ZMapp was first given to two US doctors Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebo who got affected with the Ebola disease while treating Ebola affected patients in Liberia. The drug was given after a special approval from the Food and Drug Administration of the US.
The drug ZMapp has been tested only on monkeys so far and it was to be tested on healthy human volunteers in 2015. However, the sudden outbreak of Ebola and the early promise shown by drug in curing the disease has speeded up the process and trials may be advanced now due to the global emergency.
How ZMapp is developed?
The drug uses a new method of passive immunization to treat Ebola infection. First antibodies are extracted from infected patients and then induced into mice.
The Ebola protein is then genetically altered and then inserted into tobacco leaves through a unique method developed by a German company, Icon Genetics.
The antibodies are then inserted into tobacco leaves using this technology and grown in large numbers for extraction.
Finally, the antibodies against the Ebola virus are then administered to patients to develop immunity to tackle the disease.
About Mapp Biopharmaceuticals
Mapp Biopharmaceuticals was set up in 2003 in San Diego, California, US. It was founded by ex-John Hopkins University faculty, Mr Larry Zeitlin and Dr Kevin J Whaley.
The company with its nine employees rather scientists has been quietly working in the field of biological warfare related fields for the US Defence Department.
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Who: ZMapp drug