LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California-based immunologist in charge of an international consortium developing new anti-Ebola drugs has turned to the Internet “crowdfunding” for extra money needed to speed up the research, she said on Monday.
The group led by Erica Ollman Saphire, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, helped formulate the experimental ZMapp serum that was used to treat two American aid workers who contracted Ebola in Liberia and recovered.
Saphire has posted an appeal on the website www.crowdrise.com/CureEbola seeking at least $100,000 in contributions for purchasing equipment that will allow researchers to analyse blood samples of antibodies from survivors of the hemorrhagic fever faster.
As of Monday, nearly $13,000 had been raised since the crowdfunding appeal was posted on Friday.
The current Ebola epidemic, the worst on record, has killed more than 4,000 people this year, mostly in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.