Dr. Kent Brantly, Ebola survivor, speaks of ending suffering in West Africa (December 5, 2014)

Written by The Canadian Press

Published by CBC on Friday, December 5, 2014

An American doctor who survived the Ebola virus says he'd like to eventually return to West Africa, the place where he got sick.

For now, Dr. Kent Brantly says his experience has given him a platform to raise awareness about the virus.

But he says he would like to return to medical work in Liberia at some point.

"I understand in a new way how people in West Africa are suffering," Brantly said. "I fully acknowledge I cannot fathom, I cannot understand what it's like to be a West African with Ebola because I had opportunity and resources that are not available to every person."

Brantly was in Ottawa on behalf of the aid group Samaritan's Purse to talk about the group's use of recent federal funding.

Brantly, a Texan, was given ZMapp, an experimental drug treatment used on a handful of patients and produced by U.S.-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

He was discharged from an Atlanta hospital in August.

"This has affected countries on multiple continents and we've got to work together to bring an end to it," he told a news conference.

Brantly said he's thankful he received ZMapp, but much more data is needed before anyone can say the drug treats most cases of Ebola. 

In November, another American Ebola survivor, Nancy Writebol, visited Winnipeg. During her visit to a church, Writebol thanked scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg who helped develop ZMapp, which she also received.

For now, Brantly encouraged people to focus on intervening in communities to stop transmission of the virus.

Similarly, Brantly said in his opinion, the preventative benefits offered by potential vaccines could offer a greater impact on the outbreak than experimental drugs.

The United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) aimed to isolate and treat all Ebola cases and safely bury all those who died, by Jan. 1.

The Ebola outbreak has made nearly 17,300 people sick, with most in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Of those, about 6,100 have died, the World Health Organization says.

Click here to learn more about Samaritan's Purse.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/dr-kent-brantly-ebola-survivor-speaks-of-ending-suffering-in-west-africa-1.2861586