As the ebola virus continues to tear through West Africa, patients are becoming more and more desperate for a cure. Which is why people are selling ebola blood on the black market. Wait, what? You heard me right. CNN reports that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), patients in search of a treatment are looking to purchase blood from Ebola survivors off the black market.
So why on earth would anyone with Ebola want to inject themselves with the blood of Ebola-survivors? Last week, Kent Brandtly, an American missionary and ebola survivor, donated his blood to Rick Sacra, another infected American missionary, in an effort to help fight the disease. The outcome: Sacra's health "improved significantly" after the treatment. Apparently, the blood of an Ebola-survivor contains antibodies that can help combat the disease — and transferring it to a still-infected person could help them improve (given the blood types are a match and the transferred blood is free of other blood-related diseases, like HIV).
Despite the fact that there is little evidence, and a lot of debate over the treatment, "convalescent serum," or the blood of an ebola survivor, it has still found it's way onto the black market. CNN notes that Margaret Chan, the director-general at the WHO, explained that it's necessary to end the "trading of covalescent serum" for a couple reasons:
"Because it is in the interest of individuals not to just get convalescent serum without ... going through the proper standard and the proper testing because it is important that there may be other infectious vectors that we need to look at."
The risks of using illicitly traded convalescent serum include the spread of HIV and other blood-related diseases. The Wire also explains that transferring the wrong blood type could result in anaphylactic shock and death in a patient.
So, if there is, in fact, blood from surviving Ebola patients available on the black market, what's next? Could anything possibly be worse? Here are a few items we hope never show up in any way, shape, or form, on the black market (especially the last one):
· Malaria-carrying mosquitos
· Mad cow disease-infected frozen burger patties
· E. coli-rich chicken strips
· Lube laced with gonorrhea
· Influenza-enhanced room-freshener spray
· Bubonic plague-carrying rats and/or fleas
and, of course,
· Kälteen bars