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US stock market daily report (August 05, 2014, Tuesday)

August 6, 2014, Wednesday, 05:36 GMT | 00:36 EST | 09:06 IST | 11:36 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

An experimental drug - ZMapp - given to two Americans infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia, appears to be working as the condition of patients being treated appear to be improving. Normal treatment for patients who have contracted Ebola consist of giving fluids, blood transfusions and antibiotics with the hope the patients immune systems can fight off Ebola’s onslaught.

The drug, provided by biotechnology firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. with office located in San Diego, is produced with tobacco plants. Mapp had only tested the drug on infected animals but, due to expedited drug access, was released to treat the two health workers. ZMapp is manufactured by a subsidiary of tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. (RAI-NYSE), Kentucky BioProcessing LLC. The two scientists behind ZMapp - Mapp President Larry Zeitlin and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Whaley. The pair are referred to as 'brilliant guys' and 'free spirits'.

Approval for emergency drug use outside of a clinical trial can be made within 24 hours. Shipment and treatment with the drug could begin even before the completion of forms are submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA can approve the use of an experimental treatment by telephone in the event of a dire emergency - such as this.

More than a decade ago, the U.S. Army funded a research project for the development of treatment and vaccines against potential bio-warfare agents, such as the Ebola virus. The result was ZMapp. Historically the Ebola virus has killed up to 90% of patients who contracted it. officials have said the current outbreak has a fatality rate of nearly 60% because of early treatment efforts. While there is no cure for Ebola, several companies are working on drug candidates currently undergoing animal testing.

Before being transported to the USA from Liberia, both patients received at least one dose of ZMapp. Patient number one, physician Kent Brantly arrived in Atlanta on August 2 and is receiving treatment at Emory University Hospital. Nancy Writebol, the second patient who was an aid worker in Liberia, is scheduled to arrive in Atlanta Tuesday and is expected to be treated at the same hospital.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci said, “There’s a very scarce number of doses,” and it’s not clear how many each patient needs for treatment. I’m not sure how many doses they’ll get.”

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with body fluids of an infected person such as blood and urine. According to the World Health Organization, in West Africa, Ebola has sickened 1,603 people and killed 887. The disease was first reported in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 and can cause bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose.

Initial symptoms of Ebola include the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. The next stage symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, internal bleeding and external bleeding can occur. Laboratory findings from blood work include low white blood cell and platelet counts as well as elevated liver enzymes. People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of the illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory. The incubation period for Ebola - the time interval from infection of the virus to onset of symptoms - is 2 to 21 days.