WASHINGTON: A Liberian man diagnosed with Ebola in Texas was given an experimental drug for the first time, officials said Monday as the White House mulled tougher airport screening at home and abroad.
Thomas Eric Duncan was given the investigational medication, brincidofovir, on Saturday, the day his condition worsened from serious to critical, said Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
The medication is made by the North Carolina-based pharmaceutical company Chimerix, and until now had never been tried in humans with Ebola, the company said.
However, it has been tested in about 1,000 people against adenovirus and cytomegalovirus.
The drug “works by keeping viruses from creating additional copies of themselves,” Chimerix said.
Duncan is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, and he is believed to have become infected while in Liberia.
West Africa is currently battling the largest outbreak of Ebola in history, with more than 3,400 dead from the hemorrhagic virus since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama was briefed by senior health and security advisors about the situation in Texas and US preparedness against Ebola.
Obama said the chances of a US Ebola outbreak were “extraordinarily low” but vowed to press world leaders to step up the global fight against the deadly epidemic in West Africa.