The public quickly responded. In less than two weeks, the fundraising effort on Crowdrise has collected $99,450, putting it just shy of its $100,000 goal.
"When you think about Kickstarter, everyone who puts in money is receiving a product," said Saphire. "This is pure altruism. ... I was really touched and honored."
The money will go toward the purchase of a fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) device, which will eliminate a bottleneck in the institute's purification process for samples. (At present, that must be done one sample at a time, and the process takes several hours. The FPLC will allow the institute to do multiple samples at once—and overnight.)
Twenty-five laboratories in seven countries are sending antibodies to Scripps so that Saphire and other researchers can hunt for the best medicine to fight against Ebola. The new equipment will help process them and accelerate her work.
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The institute is also seeking to improve ZMapp and to develop alternative treatments, a spokesman told Reuters. The hopeful cure is a mix of three antibodies that are designed to bind to proteins of the virus, which will prevent it from replication and triggering the immune response of infected cells.
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Saphire is quick to note that the National Institutes of Health has been a very strong supporter of the work Scripps has done over the past several years in researching the disease but says the current surge in Ebola-related federal spending has been in the testing and delivery of drugs and vaccines.
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