Five hours after Ebola-stricken Craig Spencer was hauled into Bellevue Hospital’s quarantine unit, the city Health Department sent a frantic email marked “URGENT” — asking if New York area hospitals, researchers and pharmacies had an experimental drug that has shown promise against the deadly virus.
It’s not clear if the antiviral drug Brincidofovir ever made it to Bellevue or if it was administered to Spencer, but the hunt was on Thursday night.
“The drug would presumably be under the jurisdiction of your investigational drug or research area,” the 6:20 p.m. email obtained by the Daily News read. “If you do have this drug, please contact Dr. Scott Harper at DOHMH as soon as possible.”
Harper, an infectious disease specialist, is a CDC epidemiology field officer for the city Health Department. The missive contained his cell phone number and email address.
Officials declined to comment on the email request or say whether it’s evidence of a lapse in the city’s preparedness to battle Ebola.
The hard-to-pronounce drug Brincidofovir (Brin-Cid- OFFO-veer) has become the go-to drug for a handful of Ebola patients. It was used successfully to treat Nancy Snyderman’s NBC News cameraman Ashoka Mukpo at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. And it was used to treat Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died in Dallas on Oct. 8.
A spokesman for Chimerix — the North Carolina company that makes the drug — declined to say whether Spencer’s doctors at Bellevue made the same emergency request of the company.
SOURCE: HEIDI EVANS
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS