Over the past few weeks, the Ebola virus has not only hit the U.S., but has been the cause of panic through major cities in Texas, as well as Ohio. Although some scientists have begun to look to the crowd to help fund their study on the virus, not many have managed to be successful.
Luckily, Scripps Research Institute scientist, Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, has continued to see excellent progress with her crowdfunding campaign on Crowdrise and has is continuing to edge closer to her $100,000 goal.
As previously reported, Dr. Saphire has gathered a group of researchers to develop the ZMapp serum. The experimental drug believed to have cured two Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, along with an English nurse, and two Liberian doctors infected with by the disease this past summer. While the researchers have remained dedicated, they have had a constant struggle with the project’s funds.
LA Times shared, twenty-five laboratories in seven countries are sending antibodies to Scripps so that Saphire and other researchers can hunt for the best medicine to fight against Ebola. The institute took to its Facebook page and shared, “Samples are being send to [Saphire’s] lab from around the world, but the number of samples outpaces the ability of her current equipment to process them. Funding for the equipment and staff will allow Dr. Saphire to work more aggressive to fight Ebola.”
Meanwhile, An institute spokesman told Reuters that researchers are seeking to improve on ZMapp and to develop alternative treatments. The hopeful cure is amix of three antibodies that are designed to bind to proteins of the virus, which will prevent it from replication and triggering the immune response of infected cells.
Although ZMapp was tested on monkeys, there were no human trials before it was rushed to treat Brantly and Writebol. While the two were cured, doctors still question whether or not the serum actually helped them fight the disease.
The media outlet recently revealed that Saphire’s appeal was the first time that a researcher at the institute has turned to crowdfunding, an increasingly popular method of seeking public financial support for academic projects.
Senior vice president for external affairs at Scripps, David Blinder, noted that all funds from the crowdfunding campaign “will have an immediate impact on the work of Dr. Saphire and her team and speed the discovery of treatments for this deadly virus.”
Currently, the campaign has raised $72,215.
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