Yes, you read that correctly – GMO cows have been created which will harbor blood that has anti-ebola antibodies inside it. Scientists are excited about the possibility that the blood in the cows may have on humans – but, it does raise the question: Who are the real test subjects for this ebola project? The cows…. or humans?
The New York Daily News writes:
The cure for Ebola may come from … cows?
A group of 50 cattle genetically engineered to contain human DNA is able to produce human antibodies that may fight off the Ebola virus, according to SAB Biotherapeutics, which has developed these specialty cattle.
Donating plasma from Ebola survivors to Ebola patients may help patients heal, because survivors’ blood contains Ebola-fighting antibodies. After these cows get vaccinated against serious diseases, their bodies make antibodies in response and in large quantities. This may make more blood with Ebola antibodies available to patients with the illness.
“From these animals, we can collect 30 to 60 liters of plasma each month,” Eddie Sullivan, president and CEO of SAB Biotherapeutics, told NBC News. “That translates into something between 500 to 1,000 human doses per month per animal.”
Researchers at SAB had been working with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases to test this approach on another disease, hantavirus, but switched gears once Ebola became an epidemic.
The cattle are located on a farm in Iowa.
It is unknown if survivors’ blood can really heal Ebola patients, but Dr. Kent Brantly, who survived the disease, has donated more than a gallon of his own blood plasma to other infected patients in hopes that it can.
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