Doctor who survived ebola gives blood sample to aid in research

SAN ANTONIO – A Nigerian doctor who survived ebola in 2014 gave a blood sample in San Antonio in hopes that he can donate blood that will be used in research.

Dr. Akinniyi Fadipe treated a patient who died from ebola, and in the process, he and seven of his colleagues at a hospital in Nigeria came down with the deadly virus. Four of his coworkers died from ebola.

Fadipe said they made a mistake in assuming the patient had malaria, the most common cause of fever in Africa.

"That was a bombshell for everybody, because we've had contact. We've touched him and everything," Fadipe said.

When he came down with symptoms starting with fever, then vomiting and diarrhea, he through he too had malaria. He was in denial.

"It was very difficult. I just had to think initially that, no it's not ebola. I don't think it's ebola. It should be something else," Fadipe said.

He said the symptoms and even the treatment, which causes extreme nausea that often leads to patients throwing the medicine up, is something he wouldn't wish on an enemy. He credits his survival to believing he would live.

"I think in ebola, 90 percent of the treatment boils down to your fighting mentality," he said.

Fadipe wants to participate in research that could lead to better treatment for future patients. The first step was giving blood at BioBridge Global in San Antonio.

The sample will be screened like any other potential donor, and if he's able to donate, he will give a unit of blood on Thursday.

XBiotech in Austin would then use the blood to develop antibody therapeutic, potentially better medicine for people sick with ebola.

Fadipe said new treatment will no double be needed.

"I don't think the next outbreak is avoidable," he said.