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Liberian president declares emergency over Ebola outbreak

Monrovia: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency in the West African country on Wednesday over an outbreak of Ebola.

Also Read: West Africa Ebola outbreak tops 700 deaths

The president made the announcement on state TV, saying the emergency will last for 90 days, Xinhua reported.

The epidemic, which has killed at least 282 people in Liberia alone, is spread through contact with body fluids of those infected.

Mass production of Ebola drug may take months

Washington:  Mass production of an experimental drug given to two US aid workers with Ebola may take "several months", the US manufacturer said on Wednesday.

International attention turned to the experimental drug known as ZMapp, developed by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical and manufactured by Owensboro-based Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), Xinhua reported.

Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly were diagnosed with Ebola while treating patients in Liberia, seemed to be improving after they were treated with the medication.

"KBP is working closely with Mapp Biopharmaceutical, various government agencies, and other parties to increase production of ZMapp," KBP spokesman David Howard told Xinhua. 

"But this process will take several months," Howard said.

Howard said in an email that the company provided "a limited amount of ZMapp" to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where the two were being treated, after it received a request last week from the hospital.

However, the spokesman said he "cannot comment nor confirm whether ZMapp has been administered to any patient."

When asked about the company's current or targeted ZMapp production capacity, he said that information "would be proprietary."

Earlier, Mapp Biopharmaceutical said in a statement that ZMapp, a mixture of three monoclonal antibodies, was first identified as a drug candidate in January and "has not yet been evaluated for safety in humans."

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