Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The stuff they say about Ebola - Part IV of many

Like Chariots of Fire I go hunting flames from the different incendiary outbursts on the hottest topic in science at the moment, Ebola. This is part 4 of many I predict we'll be reading in choir. Today I could not escape a magnificent intervention from a commentator on the second part of this group of "stuff they say about Ebola" on LinkedIn's forum, but that will have a special edition tomorrow as I'll cover ready-made vaccines, untested cures, cures without vectors and vectors without permission. Complicated??? I guess so, but that's stuff they say about Ebola, not me. Today, I'd especially put emphasis on Bruce Ribner's opinions because that's an incredible clear approach with no ifs and buts and mights.

Ebola doctors reveal how infected Americans were cured [Access here]

"What we found in general is that among our Ebola patients, because of the amount of fluid they lost through diarrhea and vomiting, they had a lot of electrolyte abnormalities. And so replacing that with standard fluids [used in hospital settings] without monitoring will not do a very good job of replacing things like sodium and potassium. In both of our patients we found those levels to be very low. One of the messages we will be sending back to our colleagues is even if you don’t have the equipment to measure these levels, do be aware this is occurring when patients are having a lot of body fluid loss."

"Experimental drugs are experimental drugs because we don’t know if they will work. That is true both with the preparations patients received in Liberia and other preparations that are being considered for treating patients with this infectious disease. We are a long way from being able to say that someone that received one of these agents benefited, it had no impact or it may be that their outcome may be impeded. Until we have good studies looking at outcomes of patients who received these medications, compared to patients who didn’t receive them, we should be very cautious."

"The focus should remain on aggressive intensive care and the ability to correct abnormalities metabolically, rather than receiving any magic vaccine or product that may or may not improve survival."

"As we have been saying all along, we feel that the high fatality rates in developing parts of the world where this infection occurs are because of the lack of resources. We had always felt that the survival of patients with proper support would be a lot better than in developing countries."

Lesson #4 - A clear message is always a confident message, but a confident message might not always be that clear.

Image taken from the article mentioned above, [http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ebola-doctor-reveals-how-infected-americans-were-cured/]

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