Congolese scientist and researcher, Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, has successfully discovered the most effective cure for Ebola.
According to him, he discovered the most effective cure for the highly contagious disease in August 2019 after two of four drugs being trialed in the major outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) were found to have significantly reduced the death rate.
My team collected blood from Ebola survivors in Kikwit and gave it to eight patients infected with the virus. Seven of those patients recovered, suggesting the antibodies in convalescent blood acted as a protection,” he said.
Speaking in an interview with the World Health Organization (WHO) on the discovery, Jean-Jacques stated the idea was not accepted by most scientists at the time, but he remained convinced that the antibodies could work.
“In 2004 I took one of the survivors of the Kikwit epidemic and sent him to the United States of America, where colleagues, including Dr Nancy Sullivan, collected some blood cells from him and cultured them. They managed to produce monoclonal antibodies and gave them to monkeys infected with Ebola. The monkeys all recovered,” the scientist told WHO.
Jean-Jacques studied medicine at the Lovanium University in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he became interested in microbiology and graduated in 1962.
He later earned a PhD in virology at the University of Leuven in Belgium, where he worked on viral infections with mouse models.
He returned to DR Congo in 1974, upon hearing of the Ebola outbreak in Matadi, which was the first crisis that Muyembe worked on country.
He was the first scientist to come in contact with the virus and survive and was also part of team at the Yambuku Catholic Mission Hospital that investigated the first Ebola outbreak.