A Texas medical facility is planning to begin treating Ebola patients by injecting them with a substance that is meant to be used to treat a virus that has already killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa.
Texas health officials announced Thursday they would start administering the medicine to patients at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, a sprawling campus with thousands of employees in a heavily urban area.
The hospital said the substance, known as parenteral ritonavir, has been used in the past to treat people who have recovered from Ebola, but that it has not been tested on people with the virus.
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It has been administered to people in three states, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, and to those in West African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Health officials said the injection will begin on Wednesday.
The University of San Antonio has about 1,000 employees, but about 1 million people live there.
The announcement comes two days after Texas Gov.
Greg Abbott said he was open to testing the drug on Ebola patients.
The governor’s office has said it is not prepared to use the drug because of the virus’s spread.
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said the U.K.-based charity Doctors Without Borders, which was also involved in the treatment of an Ebola patient at the hospital, was providing assistance in the U!s efforts to isolate patients at Texas.
In the U..
K., officials have said the country is prepared to start using parenters as a way to treat Ebola patients, although the U.’s government has not tested the substance.
The U.N. health agency said Thursday it has seen no evidence that the substance has a role in treating Ebola, although its use is considered a possibility.
The U.E. and the U.-N.
have said they are working together to develop a vaccine.