MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova - As the Ebola epidemic continues to evolve, Africans have turned to black markets seeking Ebola survivors' blood, that allegedly might prevent or treat the deadly virus.
"Studies suggest blood transfusions from EVD survivors might prevent or treat Ebola virus infections 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 World Health Organization reports.
The WHO experts believe that "the first batches of convalescent plasma" will be available by the end of 2014. They insist that patients should be provided with blood only through "well-managed" blood banks.
However, specialists are expressing deep concerns regarding the ways desperate patients are getting convalescent plasma, as the logistics and dissemination are at issue.
Alarmingly, "patients in affected nations are getting blood through improper channels. The illicit trade can lead to the spread of other infections, including HIV and other blood-related ailments," CNN emphasizes.
In a press conference on support for Ebola affected countries which was held in Geneva, Switzerland on September 12, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, when answering questions from the press, said:
"You mentioned [the] black market and this is something; we need to work very closely with the affected countries to [root] 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 properly [established standards] and proper testing, and because it is important that there may be other infectious vectors that we need to look at."
The WHO's Director-General stressed that the Organization had received reports on 4,784 cases and more than 2,400 had died as of September 12.
The situation in West Africa is obviously getting out of control, experts say. New concerns about the possibility of the virus mutating have added fuel to the fire: while currently Ebola is being transmitted through patients' bodily fluids, a mutation could allow the contagion to spread through the air. This new form of the deadly virus will pose a substantial threat to humanity, claim experts, as cited by CNN.