Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2015; 19 (16): 2983-2996

Ebola and blood transfusion: existing challenges and emerging opportunities

S. Abdullah, K. Karunamoorthi

Laboratory Medicine Department, Faculty of Applied medical Sciences, Jazan University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

OBJECTIVE: The deadly Ebola virus has been first known to mankind since 1976. In the past decades, Ebola outbreaks has often been ignored/neglected as erupted in the rural remote/isolated areas of Africa. The recent 2013-2014 epidemic is the most wide-spread with high incidence rates, morbidity and, mortality in the Ebola history. Eventually, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it as a ‘Public Health Concern of the International Community’. This scrutiny was conducted to initiate a serious debate on various aspects of Ebola, particularly blood transfusion as an empirical therapeutic modality.

METHODS: A search has been performed using the premier scientific databases, WHO documents, and English language search engines. Of 278 potential articles that were identified using a fixed set of criteria, a convenience sample of eighty-two appropriate articles was chosen for this review.

RESULTS: The current EBO outbreak is predominantly driven by various confounding risk-factors like: (1) frail health care system, (2) unique cultural and religious customs, (3) huge-shortage of skilled professionals, (4) no licensed therapeutic agents, (5) ill-prepared monitoring and early warning systems, and (6) strained budgets; all these have bolstered this epidemic. As lack of neither specific treatments nor reliable interventions to quickly quell this epidemic, WHO has indorsed ‘blood transfusion as an empirical therapeutic modality’. Currently, several clinical trials are underway, particularly the two Ebola candidate vaccines and several antiviral drugs and it has been observed that the initial results are quite promising. However, there are several daunting ethical and practical challenges ahead to stem off this outbreak.

CONCLUSIONS: The Ebola-hit poverty stricken West-African countries struggle to contain the outbreak, due to lack of potent therapeutics. Consequently, blood-transfusion could serve as an ideal therapeutic modality to save millions of lives. Therefore, industrialized nations and international agencies must aid them to combat with this catastrophe. Besides, it must warrant further multi-layered interventions and interagency policies, in order to build an Ebola-free safe world in the near future.

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To cite this article

S. Abdullah, K. Karunamoorthi
Ebola and blood transfusion: existing challenges and emerging opportunities

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2015
Vol. 19 - N. 16
Pages: 2983-2996