On Thursday, Dr. Kent Brantly thought he was going to die.
It was the ninth day since the American missionary worker came down sick with Ebola in Liberia.
His condition worsening by the minute, Brantly called his wife to say goodbye.
Thankfully, the call was premature.
Brantly is back on his feet — literally — after receiving a last-ditch, highly experimental drug. Another American missionary with Ebola got the same.
Brantly’s and Nancy Writebol’s conditions significantly improved after receiving the medication, sources say. Brantly was able to walk into Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after being evacuated to the United States last week, and Writebol is expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday.
On July 22, Brantly woke up feeling feverish. Fearing the worst, Brantly immediately isolated himself. Writebol’s symptoms started three days later. A rapid field blood test confirmed the infection in both of them after they had become ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
It’s believed Brantly and Writebol, who worked with the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, contracted Ebola from another health care worker at their hospital in Liberia, although the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case investigation has yet to be released.
The experimental drug, known as ZMapp, was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., which is based in San Diego. The patients were told that the treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.