WHO allows use of untested drugs on Ebola patients

Amid a furore over the lack of treatment being provided in West Africa, the World Health Organization has agreed that the provision of untested drugs would be 'ethical'

Amid a furore over the lack of treatment being provided in West Africa, the World Health Organization has agreed that the provision of untested drugs would be 'ethical'

GENEVA - The World Health Organization has agreed the use of experimental medicines to treat the Ebola virus after Liberia announced it will receive a drug untested on humans but showing signs of success in treating two American doctors.

The WHO pronounced the use of the untested drug “ethical” when treating Ebola victims who are likely to die otherwise.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Geneva-based body said, “The panel reached consensus that it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention.”

More than 1,000 people have died from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since June.

On Tuesday Liberia announced it is to receive doses of ZMapp, an experimental drug that has been used to treat two American aid workers after an outcry over the lack of provision for African victims.

Last week, the WHO’s emergency committee on Ebola declared the disease an international public health emergency, only the third time such a level of alarm has been raised.

The virus can be transmitted to humans from wild animals and also spreads through contact with the body fluids of an infected person or someone who has died of the disease.

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