GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJZ) — Major progress in the fight against a deadly disease: a new treatment for the Ebola virus to be made right here in Baltimore. Last year’s outbreak killed thousands.
Christie Ileto explains now the US will spend millions to make sure it’s prepared for any more cases.
The outbreak was deadly and the fear Ebola can resurge at any moment is real.
That’s why a local biotech company is at the forefront of finding a cure.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” said Barbara Solow, Emergent BioSolutions. “It’s better to be prepared than to wait and find out and have a long wait time. It takes a while to go ahead and scale up a manufacturer.”
The lethal virus ravaged West Africa, slaughtering more than 11,000 and infecting more than 27,000 people to date. This past week, there were 30 cases.
“For all I know, I will never see these people again,” said Bobby Joe.
Losing 16 family members to Ebola, Baltimore resident Bobby Joe knows the pain firsthand. This latest treatment is similar to the drug ZMapp used at the height of the outbreak, including on Maryland Dr. Martin Salia who died because he got it too late.
The company’s manufacturing facility is based here in Baltimore, which is more than 56,000 square feet, allowing it to produce multiple vaccines quickly and at the same time.
The outbreak has prompted months of intense training on how to treat patients at three of Maryland’s Ebola-ready treatment centers as a second line of defense.
“We’re hopeful. There’s testing we’ll have once the manufacturing is done,” Solow said.
But it’s this new treatment that could be the answer to a deadly virus.
Emergent is doubling the size of its east Baltimore facility.
The company has a two-year, $20 million contract with the feds.