Medical workers from the Liberian Red Cross disinfect themselves in the small city of Banjol, where three people infected with the Ebola virus died, on September 4, 2014
Protalix says it has the resources to produce experimental medicine ZMapp, which has run out elsewhere

The death toll from the Ebola epidemic has climbed above 2,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday, as it voiced hopes a vaccine could be available in November.

AFPHowever, supplies of experimental medicines -- including the prototype drug ZMapp -- are limited, and "will not be sufficient for several months to come," the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Friday.

Protalix, an Israeli biopharmaceutical company, said Saturday that it has the resources to produce the coveted ZMapp, which has recently run out, Israeli site The Times of Israel, citing Channel 2 TV's report, said Sunday.

In an interview with Channel 2, Dr. Yossi Shaaltiel, the executive vice president of research and development at Protalix, said: “Today our production capacity exceeds our needs, and we would certainly be happy to have the company producing the Ebola drug have us produce the drug for them. We would know how to do it effectively, in large quantities, and in a relatively short period of time.”

ZMapp has been given to about 10 infected health workers, including Americans and Europeans, of whom three recovered. WHO assistant director general Marie-Paule Kieny told reporters "there is not enough experience with ZMapp to conclude whether this treatment works or not," adding "there seem to be encouraging signs."

When the company started out, Shaaltiel said, “We were considered crazy.”

“Now we are proving that we are the only ones working with the [kind of] plants that [are developed into] pharmaceutical drugs which are approved,” he said.

According to the UN health organization's data, the deadly Ebola virus has claimed 2,097 lives out of 3,944 people infected in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, since emerging last December.


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