US Ebola patient now receiving experimental drug - hospital

A health worker wearing protective equipment feeds a patient being treated for Ebola at the Island Clinic in Monrovia, on Sept 30, 2014. The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States is now receiving an experimental drug for the disease, a h
A health worker wearing protective equipment feeds a patient being treated for Ebola at the Island Clinic in Monrovia, on Sept 30, 2014. The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States is now receiving an experimental drug for the disease, a hospital spokeswoman said on Monday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DALLAS (REUTERS) - The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States is now receiving an experimental drug for the disease, a hospital spokeswoman said on Monday.

The drug, called brincidofovir, was developed by Chimerix Inc.

The patient, Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, remains in critical but stable condition, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said.

Questions had been raised about why Duncan had not received experimental treatments after being admitted just over a week ago. They had been given to at least three other Ebola patients flown to the United States from countries in West Africa, where the virus has killed more than 3,400 people.

The patients included two at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, with ZMapp produced by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical and one at Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha who received Tekmira Pharmaceutical's TKM-Ebola.

All three recovered, but it is scientifically impossible to say whether the drugs played a role in their recovery, something only rigorous clinical trials can determine.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a briefing on Sunday that there are no more doses of ZMapp, a cocktail of three antibodies.

Frieden, asked about TKM-Ebola, said it "can be quite difficult for patients to take" and "can actually make someone sicker."

Chimerix said brincidofovir, has been tested in more than 1,000 patients without raising safety concerns. "Chimerix has brincidofovir tablets available for immediate use in clinical trials," the company said in a statement.