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Doctor with Ebola virus given blood by child he saved in Africa

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

One of the two patients infected with the Ebola virus received blood from a special person.

While in Africa treating patients with the virus, Dr. Kent Brantly treated a 14-year-old child who survived Ebola while in his care, according to Samaritan's Purse, the organization Brantly served his fellowship through.

As it turns out, that same 14-year-old child gave a unit of his treated blood back to the doctor.

"The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life," said Franklin Gram, who is the president of Samaritan's Purse.

Meanwhile, Infectious Disease physicians compared the experimental treatment both Ebola patients in Atlanta are receiving to the treatment for rabies.

The question still unanswered is whether or not it will work with the Ebola virus.

Two doctors at Georgia Infectious Diseases walked CBS46 investigative reporter Jennifer Emert through the process, using a patient not infected with Ebola, but who was simply receiving a bulk form of antibodies from an IV.

The doctors said the patient receiving the antibodies was getting the serum created from the blood of other patients who had built up an immunity to a virus, a process they said was similar to the treatment being given to the Ebola patients in Atlanta.

In a case like rabies, the serum is usually administered within 24 to 48 hours of an infection.

In the Ebola case, the serum and blood transfusions weren't given until as many as nine days after first symptoms appeared.

Doctors said that whether or not that will be a factor in the treatment is unknown because it is experimental.

Physicians also say there are unknown risks with this type of treatment for Ebola, which is why the patients are being monitored so closely.

Both patients infected with the Ebola virus remain at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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