US doc­tor has a new call­ing

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE - GREG LACOUR AND CARO­LINE CHEN

JUST two weeks after Kent Brantly, the first per­son to be treated on US soil for Ebola, walked out of Emory Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal cured of the deadly virus, he re­ceived a call.

Another doc­tor, Rick Sacra, was in­fected. Would he be will­ing to do­nate some of his blood?

“I said: ‘I would give Rick Sacra my right arm if it would help him,’ ” Brantly told re­porters.

Brantly, 33, who was in­fected with Ebola while work­ing as a mis­sion­ary doc­tor in Liberia, be­came a house­hold name on Au­gust 2 as news out­lets showed him walk­ing, cov­ered in pro­tec­tive gear, into the en­trance at Emory in At­lanta. Brantly says his new mis­sion is to raise aware­ness about the Ebola out­break.

“If I were still in Liberia, I’d be treat­ing 50 pa­tients in an Ebola treat­ment unit. Here, with this plat­form, hope­fully my mes­sage can have an ef­fect that will help thou­sands,” he said.

Brantly con­tin­ues to share his an­ti­body-en­riched blood with other pa­tients. While the use of sur­vivor’s blood isn’t a proven ther­apy against Ebola, the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion urged in Septem­ber it be used as an ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment. Sur­vivors de­velop an­ti­bod­ies that recog­nise the virus and, in the­ory, donat­ing some to a sick pa­tient may help.

A month after giv­ing his blood to Sacra, Brantly was driv­ing across the coun­try when he was called again. Ashoka Mukpo, a cam­era­man for NBC (the TV net­work), had been ad­mit­ted with Ebola in Omaha and his blood type matched Brantly’s.

He stopped the car in Kansas City, Mis­souri, at a lo­cal blood bank, where his blood was drawn and sent to Ne­braska.

Brantly called on law­mak­ers to do away with 21day quar­an­tine re­quire­ments for health work­ers re­turn­ing from West Africa, and in­stead pro­vide in­cen­tives for more doc­tors to vol­un­teer in the af­fected coun­tries. – Bloomberg

ON A MIS­SION: Kent Brantly

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