Doctors Trying to Jump Start NBC News Freelancer’s Immune System

Doctor Says Dallas Death Was Not 'Surprising' 1:17

The doctor treating Ashoka Mukpo, an NBC News Freelancer who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia, says that they will administer plasma from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly.

"He's sick but stable," Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center, said Wednesday. "When you get an infection it’s kind of a race, your body is developing antibodies, it has to develop specific chemicals to attach to the virus."

Smith said that process could often take a week or more, but by giving Mukpo a transfusion of Brantly's blood, they hope to speed it up.

"We’re trying to jump start the immune system, and hopefully just buy some time," he said. The doctors working on Mukpo have received 800 ccs, or 0.8 liters, of plasma from Brantly, Smith said.

Brantly, who overcame Ebola in Atlanta after contracting it while working in Liberia, was on a road trip from Indiana to Texas when he received a call from the medical center telling him that his blood type matched Mukpo’s. Within minutes, he stopped off at the Community Blood Center in Kansas City, Missouri, and his donation was flown to Omaha.

Dr. Smith also addressed the case of Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died earlier on Wednesday.

He noted that the delay in getting Duncan treatment likely didn't help his case, and said "while his death is very sad, it is not surprising. Even in this country the disease is going to have significant morbidity."


— Hasani Gittens