The World Heath Organisation (WHO) has warned desperate patients infected with the Ebola virus against purchasing blood from survivors in the black market, according to a CNN report.
Convalescent serum, as the blood from survivors is referred to, purportedly contains antibodies capable of fighting the virus. Although it has not be proven, it shows promise in tackling a disease which has no approved drug yet.
“Studies suggest blood transfusions from survivors might prevent or treat Ebola virus infection in others, but the results of the studies are still difficult to interpret, it is not known whether antibodies in the plasma of survivors are sufficient to treat or prevent the disease. More research is needed.” the WHO said.
The WHO further warned that illicit trade channels might start touting the blood, which could lead to the spread of other blood related infections like HIV.
Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO had this to say: “We need to work very closely with the affected countries to stem out black market trading of convalescent serum for two reasons, because it is in the interest of individuals not to just get convalescent serum without … going through the proper standard and the proper testing because it is important that there may be other infectious vectors that we need to look at.”