News / Health

    Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

    Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
    X
    Carol Pearson
    August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
    The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
    Carol Pearson

    Without specific drugs or a vaccine for Ebola, the only thing doctors can do for those suffering from this disease is treat their symptoms and hope their bodies can fight the virus.  Ebola is killing at least half of those who get it.  So far, it has claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people.

    The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa.  Zmapp, one of those drugs, have been given to six people: three Westerners and now, three African doctors.  One of the Westerners, a Catholic priest who was working in Liberia, has died.  Reports say the other five are improving.  It's still not known if the drug has helped.

    Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the company that produced the drug, says all the available supplies are now exhausted.

    Also available - about 1,000 doses of an experimental vaccine,  which may be used in West Africa.  Neither of these treatments has been tested on human beings.

    In a Skype interview with VOA, Dr. Robert Klitzman, one of the co-founders of the Center for Bioethics at Columbia University in New York, said using these drugs raises ethical issues.  "Does it work? What should we tell people?  What if it makes people worse?  We want to make sure people understand that there are risks involved.  If we have a limited supply, we need to decide who should get the vaccine or medication and who should not."

    Dr. Klitzman said in some sub-Saharan African languages, there's a word for "cure," but nothing that translates the word "experimental."  He says anyone who receives an experimental drug has to be told it might not cure them, and if it might make the situation worse.

    Dr. Chandrakant Ruparelia is an infectious disease prevention expert at Jhpiego, an organization that trains health care workers in Liberia.  He said even if there were a large supply of these treatments, an untested drug has to be monitored. “That’s an experimental medication still," he said and that "It cannot be used on a large scale for every patient."

    Dr. Klitzman says he agrees.  "We need to give it in a controlled way where we can see who got it, what happened, does it work, does it make them worse?"

    Other vaccines and treatments are being developed, but are not likely to be used to treat Ebola patients, even in an experimental form, at least not for this unprecedented outbreak.

     

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: raph from: cameroon
    August 25, 2014 3:28 AM
    Why not come back to God with fasting and prayer both Christians Muslims everyone included since I believe this ebola is not natural bcse its only God that will bring solution to this threat
    may God help us

    by: John
    August 20, 2014 5:15 AM
    Given the flourishing Boko Haram insurrection against polio vaccination, and the riots claiming that ebola doesn't exist or is produced by the whites, I do wonder how the Africans will react to being given these experimental drugs. My guess would be that they will blame the whites for experimenting on them, they will blame the whites for not having enough drugs to experiment on them all, they will blame the whites for those the drugs injure or kill, and, when a drug cures someone, they will blame the whites for not giving it to everyone sooner. Since they'll be getting the drugs for free, at least they can't blame the whites for making them pay.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora