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Baxter donates IVs to aid groups fighting Ebola in Africa

By Gareth MacDonald+

Last updated on 29-Aug-2014 at 09:14 GMT2014-08-29T09:14:18Z

Baxter donates IVs to aid groups fighting Ebola in Africa

Baxter International has donated intravenous fluids to aid organisations treating Ebola infected patients in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The donation was made through the biopharmaceutical drugmaker and contract manufacturing organisation’s (CMO) partners AmeriCares and Direct Relief according to spokesperson Marie von Seyfried.

She told Baxter and its humanitarian aid partners collaborate to “pre-position products for emergencies as well as ongoing needs in underserved communities.

Through this proactive, strategic approach to product donations, both AmeriCares and Direct Relief have sent intravenous fluids donated by Baxter for patients in Sierra Leone and Liberia to assist with medical needs surrounding the Ebola outbreak.”

Treatment, no cure

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that Ebola infection has a case fatality rate (CFR) of 90% - which means nine out of ten infected patients will die.

However, this is based on data from an Ebola flare up that occured in the Congo in 2002 and the CFR for the current outbreak is around 54%.  There is also significant country to country variation. The CFR in Ghana is 73%, while in Liberia it is 55 %.

According to the WHO the main reason for this variation - aside from the possibility there are several different Ebola virus strains circulating - is the quality of medical treatment which is primarily based on fluid replacement.

And such treatment looks set to be the only effective option for Ebola infected patients some time because, although various unapproved candidate drugs are being tried , there is no proof any of them are effective at combatting the disease.

Similarly, while vaccines are being developed – GSK has just been given the go ahead to start trials of its experimental anti-infective – it is unlikely that they will be available before 2015 at the very earliest.

Baxter is also poised to provide fill-and-finish services to support efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine as part of a network set up by the US Government, but “thus far, we’ve not received such a request from BARDA related to Ebola response” Seyfried said.

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