The World Health Organization says it is ethical to use unproven, experimental drugs in the fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. (Aug. 12)
AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY
Geneva, Switzerland - August 12, 2014
1. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General, World Health Organisation:
"There was unanimous agreement among the experts, that the special circumstances of this Ebola outbreak, it is ethical to offer unregistered interventions as potential treatments or prevention. There are caveats, though. The panelists said ethical criteria must always guide the provision of such intervention. These include transparency about all aspects of care, informed consent, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for person and preservation of dignity and with the involvement of the community. The panel also emphasized that because we know so little about safety and efficacy in humans, whenever these treatments are provided for what we call compassionate use, which means as defined as access to an unapproved drug outside of the clinical trial, then there is a moral obligation to collect and share all data generated."
BITES SEPARATE BY WHITE FLASH
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General, World Health Organisation:
"So it is very important to not give false hope to anybody that Ebola can be treated now. This is absolutely not the case. What we rely on now is proper implementation of infection prevention and control."
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the use of unproven anti-Ebola drugs in West Africa "ethical" on Tuesday, as long as the provision met certain criteria.
After holding a teleconference with medical experts around the world, the WHO declared it was ethical to use unproven Ebola drugs and vaccines in the current outbreak, but sidestepped the key question of how to decide who should get the limited drugs.
"The panelists said ethical criteria must always guide the provision of such intervention," Assistant Director-General of the WHO Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny told journalists in Geneva.
But Kieny warned the WHO does not want to raise expectations about the experimental drugs.
"It is very important to not give false hope to anybody that Ebola can be treated now. This is absolutely not the case," said Kieny.
Two Americans and reportedly the Spanish priest who died from Ebola had received the experimental drug named ZMapp, which has never been tested in humans.
But the vast majority of Ebola victims have been Africans, and some have protested that their citizens are not getting access to the novel drugs.
The UN health agency says 1,013 people have died so far in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and authorities have recorded 1,848 suspected or confirmed cases.
The killer virus, spread by direct contact with bodily fluids like blood, diarrhea and vomit, was detected in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and possibly Nigeria.