Experimental drug helped cure doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone

5 January 2015

A doctor who caught Ebola while in charge of a treatment unit in Lakka, Sierra Leone was treated with an experimental drug called FX06 along with other intensive care and recovered.

 The doctor, who caught the virus in September last year, was airlifted to Frankfurt University Hospital on the 5th day of his illness and admitted to a specialised isolation unit.

Within 72 hours of admission he developed signs of vascular damage and leakage of fluid into surrounding tissue, along with severe multi-organ failure, including the lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. He was placed on a ventilator and on kidney dialysis, and was given antibiotics together with a 3-day course of an experimental drug called FX06 — a fibrin-derived peptide that has been shown to reduce vascular leakage and its complications in mice with Dengue hemorrhagic shock. It is believed to have a role in stabilizing the endothelium, the inner layer of blood vessels.

A marked improvement in vascular and respiratory function was seen under the combined measures of intensive care and drug treatment. After a 30-day observation period, no Ebola virus genetic material was detected in the patient’s blood plasma. The patient was released from hospital and is now with his family.

“Even though the patient was critically ill, we were able to support him long enough for his body to start antibody production and for the virus to be cleared by his body’s defences”, explains Dr Timo Wolf, Division of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.

“In terms of improving treatment for Ebola patients, we have shown how intensive care medicine can successfully be applied under strict isolation conditions”, addd Professor Zacharowski, head of the Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine at Frankfurt University Hospital.”

The researchers have published the results in The Lancet and also called for FX06 to be evaluated in clinical trials.


Wolf T, et al. Severe Ebola virus disease with vascular leakage and multiorgan failure: treatment of a patient in intensive care.  The Lancet. Published Online December 19, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62384-9

Abstract: www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)62384-9/abstract 

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