Monday, November 02, 2015

"Breakthrough" on NatGeo starts with "Fighting Pandemics", about Ebola in Liberia in 2014

The National Geographic Channel led off a new series called “Breakthrough” Nov. 1 with a one-hour episode “Fighting Pandemics”, directed by Peter Berg, link.

The episode traced the shocking explosion of Ebola in west Africa in 2014.  It did not get into the controversial tragedy in Texas, but it did cover in detail the history of Ian Crozier, who was in intensive care for over 40 days at Emory University in Atlanta late in 2014.  Crozier, a physician, talked about taking his own blood sample when he suspected symptoms and the agonizing wait.  He became even more ill than some other physicians (like Brantley) who survived. It was feared that he would have brain damage, but he finally recovered fully.  However, in December 2014 he experienced some temporary vision loss in one eye, where Ebola had “colonized” (in a body area that is immunosuppressed).  His eye color even changed.  He got anti-virals injected into the eye and his sight recovered.

Crozier seems to have resumed practicing in Liberia.

The documentary covered the way new antibody serums are developed and tested.

By coincidence, the title series is the same as Jack Andraka's book "Breakthrough" about the high school student's (now a freshman at Stanford) science fair project that discovered an inexpensive pancreatic cancer test (Book reviews March 18, 2015).  Maybe Jacks' project would make for a good episode in the series in the future.

Wikipedia attribution link "Ebola Pathenogensis path" by Ebola__Pathenogensis.svg: ChyranandChloederivative work: ChyranandChloe (talk) - Ebola__Pathenogensis.svg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

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