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October 17, 2014

Gates Foundation Solicits Australian Firm for Ebola Treatment

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has asked an Australian maker of therapeutic blood-plasma products to try and develop a plasma-based treatment for Ebola sufferers, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company, CSL, formed a team to assess the feasibility of such a product after receiving the foundation's "highly unusual" request a few weeks ago, CEO Paul Perreault said.

Mr. Perreault said the firm is exploring a plan to collect and purify antibody-rich plasma from people who have recovered from Ebola for use in a "hyper-immune" blood product for transfusion into patients. A Gates foundation spokesman said the organization "has been in discussion" with CSL about an Ebola serum but has made no final decisions. The foundation pledged $50-million last month to fight the spread of Ebola in West Africa and speed development of treatments.