URI Professor exploring vaccine for Ebola Virus

By News Staff


A University of Rhode Island Professor who also runs a local bio-tech company believes her team can help create an effective Ebola vaccine.

“We could definitely move forward in a moments notice.  We basically have technology that we think is pretty straight forward to help people design vaccines better,” said Dr. Anne De Groot.

Dr. Anne De Groot, who runs EpiVax, Inc. and is Director of Immunology at URI, says she standing by and ready if the government needs her help.

Currently, there is no vaccine for the virus.  The two American patients are relying on an experimental drug they took in Liberia.

The husband of the second American aid worker recently diagnosed with the virus says the patient is weak but showing signs of improvement.

The president of the aid group SIM USA said Tuesday that Nancy Writebol’s husband described the woman as progressing. Bruce Johnson says he spoke with David Writebol, who said 58-year-old Nancy stood and got on a plane in Liberia with assistance to head to Atlanta for treatment. When she arrived Tuesday, she was wheeled in a stretcher.

David Writebol, still in Liberia, says the family was considering funeral arrangements, but now feels relieved and cautiously optimistic. He praised her treatment in Liberia.

 SIM says it’s working to bring David Writebol home.

Johnson says SIM has spent nearly $1 million since the diagnoses of Nancy Writebol and the first American brought back, 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly. He works for Samaritan’s Purse. Johnson says that group has spent more than $1 million.

While the two recover, hospitals around the country are keeping an eye out for patients with symptoms.

“If they are doing the testing, they are doing their job that’s a good thing, ” said ABC Chief Health Editor Dr. Richard Besser.

(C) AP/WLNE-TV 2014