We are in an unusual situation in this outbreak. We have a disease with a high fatality rate without any proven treatment or vaccine. We need to ask the medical ethicists to give us guidance on what is the responsible thing to do
August 6, 2014 – The World Health Organisation (WHO) will next week convene a panel of medical ethicists to look at the possibility of deploying experimental drugs on patients afflicted with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa.
According to WHO, there is currently no registered medicine or vaccine for the virus but that there are several experimental options under development. One of which is Zmapp drug produced by a San Diego based pharmaceutical company that is currently being used on two Americans, Dr. Kenth Brantley and Nancy Writebol.
Both are said to be doing well after receiving doses of the drug.
Nigeria is also looking at the possibility of deploying experimental drugs for treatment of its own citizens.
WHO is convening the meeting even as death toll has reached 932 in four West African countries of Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone out of 1,711 people currently living with the disease in West Africa.
“As of 4 August 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the four countries stands at 1 711, including 932 deaths.
“The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows:
Guinea, 495 cases (351 confirmed, 133 probable, and 11 suspected), including 363 deaths; Liberia, 516 cases (143 confirmed, 252 probable, and 121 suspected), including 282 deaths; Nigeria, 9 cases (0 confirmed, 2 probable, and 7 suspected), including 1 death; and Sierra Leone, 691 cases (576 confirmed, 49 probable, and 66 suspected), including 286 deaths”, WHO has said.
“We are in an unusual situation in this outbreak. We have a disease with a high fatality rate without any proven treatment or vaccine. We need to ask the medical ethicists to give us guidance on what the responsible thing to do is,” says Assistant Director-General of WHO Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny has said.