Three of Britainâ€™s leading Ebola specialists have called for experimental drugs and vaccines for the deadly Ebola virus to be offered to people of West Africa, where the virus has killed about 900 people.
The call came after two American missionaries who contracted the disease while working in Liberia were administered the experimental serum,ZMapp and their condition improved.
In a joint statement signed in London, Peter Piot, who discovered Ebola in 1976, David Heymann, the director of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security and Jeremy Farrar from the Wellcome Trust have disclosed that there are several drugs and vaccines under study that could be used to combat the Ebola virus, and African governments should be allowed to make informed decisions about whether or not to use these products, especially for the protection and treatment of its healthcare workers who run high risks of infection, The Independent reports.
The trio, who questioned why Africans were not being given the same chance as Americans, called on the World Health Organization (WHO), the only body with the necessary international authority to allow such experimental treatments, to wade into the matter.
â€śExperimental treatments shouldnâ€™t be rolled out generally without prior safety testing. But in the face of the critical challenge in West Africa, the WHO and Western medical agencies should be helping countries weigh the risks and benefits of limited deployment of the best (drug and vaccine) candidates to those in the greatest need, while continuously monitoring safety and efficacy,â€ť they said.
Two American missionaries, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, had been given an experimental drug Zmapp, a drug made from antibodies produced in a lab that has never gone through human trials or been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), resulting in widespread criticisms.
Though the pair are still reportedly weak, they are alive and now being cared for at a specialist isolation unit in Atlanta. At this stage, there is no way of knowing how much of a help the new drug has actually been.
Almost 900 people have died from the Ebola virus across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the latest outbreak began in February this year and now it has spread to Nigeria after a Liberian-born American died at a hospitalÂ in Lagos from the virus.A nurse, who attended to the deceased before his death, has also died, according to report.