The first case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to be confirmed in the United States, Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan remains in critical condition. His condition is stable, according to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital officials today.

Ebola virus/CDC
Ebola virus/CDC

On their Twitter page, hospital officials also say that Duncan began receiving an investigational medication, brincidofovir for treatment of EVD.

Brincidofovir is an antiviral drug made by Durham, NC biopharmaceutical company, Chimerix.

The company announced today that based on requests from treating physicians of Mr. Duncan, Emergency Investigational New Drug Applications (EIND) were granted by theU.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Chimerix is committed to working with global health organizations and government agencies in the fight against the Ebola virus outbreak,” said M. Michelle Berrey, M.D., M.P.H., President and Chief Executive Officer of Chimerix. “Based on in vitro data from work conducted by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health suggesting brincidofovir’s activity against Ebola, we are hopeful that brincidofovir may offer a potential treatment for Ebola Virus Disease during this outbreak. Data collected over years of clinical development of brincidofovir have allowed us to progress this compound into Phase 3 programs for cytomegalovirus and adenovirus infections, and provided information on the safety and dosing of brincidofovir to allow it to be explored as a potential therapy for Ebola Virus Disease.”

The company notes they are working closely with the FDA to finalize a clinical trial protocol early this week to assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of brincidofovir in patients who are confirmed to have an infection with the Ebola virus. Testing at the Viral Special Pathogens Branch of the CDC and the NIH revealed in vitro (test tube) activity of brincidofovir against the Ebola virus that was similar to that seen in test tube assessments of brincidofovir against other viral diseases, such as adenovirus and smallpox. Additional tests of brincidofovir in in vivo (animal) models of Ebola virus infection are currently underway.

In a related story, Texas has now got an infectious disease task force. Gov. Rick Perry today announced the creation of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, which will assess and enhance the state’s existing capabilities to prepare for and respond to pandemic disease, such as the Ebola virus.

The governor named Dr. Brett P. Giroir as director of the task force, heading up a team of internationally renowned experts in epidemiology and infectious disease.

“Over the past several days we have learned a lot about the unique challenges of situations like this, and it’s important that we continue to adapt our response to these realities,” Gov. Perry said. “This task force will develop a comprehensive, long-term plan to ensure Texas deals effectively with any potential outbreak, building on our existing State Emergency Plan and will cover all phases of preparedness and response.”