Hattiesburg native's Ebola Virus drug successful, speaks on future of the drug

A Scripps Research Institute model depicts how ZMAPP attacks the Ebola Virus
A Scripps Research Institute model depicts how ZMAPP attacks the Ebola Virus

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Two Americans infected with the deadly Ebola virus were successfully cured thanks to a drug created by a University of Southern Mississippi graduate.

Scripps Institute Graduate Researcher and Hattiesburg native Daniel Murin assisted in the creation of ZMAPP, an experimental drug given to Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol who were sent to Emory Hospital in July for contracting Ebola.

"Well I was really happy to hear that these people were able to walk out of the hospital," said Murin." From what I have heard, they had really gotten to the worst part of the symptoms, they were very severe. So the fact that they lived is incredible."

Murin's drug had never been tested on a human before, but was chosen as a last minute alternative to help the two infected Americans.

According to Murin, there are several steps to take going forward in order to mass produce the treatment.

"We can go back and look at the samples from the two Americans and see what was going on in their bodies while they were taking the drug to see what it is that made it work," said Murin.

According to Murin, the process of getting a drug like ZMAPP approved and mass produced could take up to eight years. However, Murin is hopeful that the drug's success can speed up that process.

"The clinical trial is still going to go forward. It has to be tested in humans properly for safety, but this outbreak will continue for the next several months," said Murin. "In this case, given what happened and the scale of this outbreak, there will probably be new polices put in place that I am not even aware of to speed up the process."

Murin said he is very hopeful that the drug will eventually be available for other countries to use.

"There is definitely a chance that we can mass produce this drug," said Murin. "It's just a matter of time and coming up with new strategies to scale up to the amount of antibodies these people would need."

Murin also said he was humbled by the drug's success, and looks forward to further research into the virus.

"I'm a graduate student, I am in the depths of research. It is so exciting that my work is in the public eye because that really never happens," said Murin. ""I really still feel like I have given a small contribution. I know now what impact I can have, and I am going to do the best I can to provide more information to make an even better drug that can be used for other inevitable outbreaks.