Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Untested Ebola drugs 'can be used'

The World Health Organization has determined it is ethical to provide experimental treatments to patients infected with the Ebola virus.

The panel of medical experts met in Geneva to discuss the merits of using untested drugs.

Some 1,013 people have died from the virus in West Africa.

The move came as Liberia announced it is set to receive an experimental drug, Zmapp, after requests made to the US government.

The WHO said in a statement: '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, as potential treatment or prevention.'

The organisation said it had been persuaded to recommend the move because of the scale of the outbreak and large number of deaths.

Where experimental treatments are used there must be informed consent and the results of the treatment collected and shared, the WHO said.