Via NBC News, a fascinating report: Ebola Victim Returns to Liberia, Aids Research. Click through for the full report and a video. Excerpt:
Nancy and David Writebol are headed back to Liberia this weekend, eight months after she became the second American infected with the Ebola virus.
Writebol, a medical missionary, made headlines around the world when she was evacuated by air to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she and her colleague Dr. Kent Brantly recovered from the highly deadly virus.
"Liberia is still very much a part of our lives and our hearts," Nancy Writebol said.
Like all survivors, Nancy Writebol is considered immune to the virus — although it's not something anyone would ever deliberately test.
And David Writebol may also be immune. He's one of the volunteers testing an experimental vaccine against Ebola.
Both Nancy and David were recently at Emory to help doctors study their immunity. Nancy is donating plasma that might be used to help treat other Ebola patients.
"I am just very thankful to be able to do that and thrilled to be able to help others who may contract Ebola," she told NBC News as she sat hooked up to a plasmapheresis machine that was taking out her blood, separating the red and white blood cells from the golden plasma, and returning the cells to her body.
"I am very thankful to give back and to help others who may need that and also just for the furtherance of research."
Writebol had already donated plasma to be infused into other patients. Now, Dr. Anne Winkler, an Emory pathologist, is leading a study to examine the plasma and test it in patients to see just whether it can help Ebola patients recover. The plasma contains antibodies that should recognize and neutralize Ebola.
"The plan is that the bank would supply any plasma throughout the United States for any patient," Winkler said.
"They would become great donors if they had neutralizing antibodies," she added. "We know that not everyone with Ebola actually develops neutralizing antibodies. So, part of the study is to actually characterize the antibody profiles in survivors of Ebola virus disease."
A second team at Emory is studying David Writebol's blood to see if the experimental vaccine he was given has stimulated a similar immune response. The same vaccine is now being tested in people in Liberia and Sierra Leone who are at risk of infection.