Ebola Study to Test New Drug in Men Whose Semen Harbors Virus

Liberia women celebrate in Monrovia, Liberia, 09 May 2015, the news of the end of deadly ebola outbreak in the country. AHMED JALLANZO / EPA
Liberia women celebrate in Monrovia, Liberia, 09 May 2015, the news of the end of deadly Ebola outbreak in the country. AHMED JALLANZO / EPA

{NBC NEWS} – Researchers said Tuesday they are testing a new drug in men who still have evidence of Ebola virus in their semen months after they’ve recovered.

The study, partly sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, will test whether the drug can clear the virus from the men’s bodies. At least one fresh outbreak of Ebola in Liberia has been traced to the semen of a man who had recovered from the infection.

“We know that traces of Ebola virus can sometimes remain in a recovered person’s body and can initiate a new bout of illness in the survivor or be passed onto others, which could start a new chain of infection in the community,” said Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH.

The two-year-long epidemic of Ebola infected 28,000 people and killed more than 11,000 in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Even after doctors thought they’d stopped new infections, cases would pop up seemingly out of the blue. In March 2015, a woman died of Ebola in Liberia. Investigations determined she was almost certainly infected by her fiancé, an Ebola survivor.

Many survivors have suffered long-term consequences of their infection, often caused by the virus surviving in hard-to-reach pockets of the body. READ MORE OF THIS REPORT

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About Cholo Brooks 16941 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.