On Thursday Brantly was given a shot at survival: a 14-year-old male Ebola patient who had been under Brantly’s care, and survived, donated a “unit of blood” to Brantly, according to Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham. “The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.” The idea—novel, though not unprecedented—is that the blood (plasma, in medical parlance) of a survivor, full of antibodies proven to be strong enough to fight off the disease (i.e., immune), when transfused into an infected body, might help that body become immune itself. Though it sounds a bit like something Hollywood might have cooked up, there’s some science behind it—and an historical precedent that offers hope.No, it doesn't "sound a bit like something Hollywood might have cooked up." It sounds like a variant on a vaccine, and it sounds like a procedure that might work. But does it work?
[In a 1996 ebola epidemic] a nurse at Kikwit General Hospital, who had volunteered to care for a pair of Ebola-infected Italian nuns, developed symptoms of Ebola. ...Some of the medical professionals there who had suffered through and survived an earlier infection wanted to donate some of their blood to the nurse. “The Americans and Scientists from the States didnt believe it could work,” ... but the Congolese doctors did it anyway. The same blood transfusion procedure was repeated for seven others who were ill, the final group of Ebola-stricken patients in the hospital. The results were staggering: seven of the eight survived. So, why hasn’t the CDC, the WHO and the rest of the public health organizations worldwide jumped all over immune plasma infusion for Ebola? Why are we still scrambling for an Ebola treatment 20 years later? The answer is that it has been essentially impossible to test. Why? Because Ebola only pops up occasionally, infects a relative few, and kills most.TEST? It's already been TESTED. Oh. I see. You don't really mean TEST. You mean FOLLOW THE HIPAA PROTOCOLS and OBEY THE RULES OF BIOETHICS. You don't want to save lives. You just want to diligently obey the Holy Scripture laid down by Your Lord And Saviour Edward M. Kennedy [pbuh]. EVIL MONSTERS. MASS KILLERS. Meanwhile, Western media constantly ridicule the natives for "failing to understand the disease." If only the natives "understood the disease", if only they had the benefits of Postgraduate Education In Critical Queer Theory, we could easily train them to behave properly. Raw bullshit. The natives ACCURATELY OBSERVE that the Western doctors ALSO fail to understand the disease, because the Western doctors are not curing anyone. Given a choice between foreign rituals that don't cure the disease versus your own rituals that don't cure the disease, might as well stick with your own rituals.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.