A World Health Organization panel of experts ruled on Tuesday that it is ethical to offer experimental drugs or vaccines in West Africa's deadly Ebola outbreak. “In the particular circumstances of this outbreak, and provided certain conditions are met, the panel reached consensus that it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects,” the WHO announced in a statement.
The group added that there was “a moral obligation” to collect and share data if any unproven drugs are used to treat patients. The ruling would cover the use of ZMapp, the U.S.-made drug that has so far been given only to the three Western patients, including two Americans, with the disease. The WHO announced late Monday that the death toll in the outbreak had reached 1,013, with a total of 1,848 cases.
- Alastair Jamieson