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SoCal Researcher Launches Crowdfunded Effort To Find Cure For Ebola

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With the second person ever in the United States to be diagnosed with Ebola over the weekend, the threat of the virus feels greater every day. Thankfully, here in Los Angeles we have been spared of the virus, though not without our few moments of panic. At least the proper authorities are gearing up.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease yet (or even a vaccine), but Erica Ollmann Saphire at San Diego's Scripps Research Institute wants to change that and is looking for a little help towards getting to that goal.

Professor Saphire is leading the charge at Scripps to find a cure for Ebola, having already led in the development of the experimental ZMapp serum has cured five patients this past summer of the virus. In order to find the antibodies that will fight the virus effectively, her work requires samples being shipped in from around the globe. Unfortunately, her lab is limited in resources, and has started a CrowdRise fundraiser in order to get the money for personnel and equipment. So far, we're at $14,000 of her $100,000 goal.

Saphire was on KPCC's Take Two this morning to talk about her efforts, and addressed the concerns that research for a cure isn't what the current epidemic needs right at this moment:

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It's true that none of these experimental therapies are going to be available in enough doses to treat everybody; it's just not possible. To contain this outbreak the focus really needs to be on medical supplies and medical care. We just can't have people dying in the streets and infecting their families at home. They need to be cared for by doctors and nurses that have supplies to protect themselves, but the contain and control isn't enough. One of the things about crowdfunding is it gives people the control. They can choose what they want to invest in and maybe they want to put some of their resources toward supplies like medical gloves and bleach and maybe they want to put some of their resources toward getting a cure ready to treat this thing.

Watch a video below of Prof. Saphire talking about her research: