groups » Research Ethics » DYING OF EBOLA VIRUS vis-a-vis TREATMENT WITH UNTESTED DRUG

Ebola Virus is a severe disease that causes severe internal bleeding and extremely high fever in humans and other primates. Ebola virus is transmitted into humans through contact with body fluids of an infected person. It spread into the human population through human-to-human contact. The infection by Ebola Virus is a death sentence since there is no known drug for cure.
The Ebola is currently ravaging the Countries in West Africa namely Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leon and Nigeria. Out of total of 1848 suspect and confirmed cases with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), 1013 have already died as on 9th August 2014.
ZMapp is a drug under development by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. It is still under experimental treatment and no clinical trials has been done to test its safety or efficacy in human. Liberia is planning to request for ZMapp to treat people infected with Ebola Virus. The Liberia is aware of the risk associated with Zmapp.
The question is
1) If one is sick with life-threatening disease, would you prescribe the untested drug like Zmap or just let the infected to die of the disease?
2) Will provision of Zmapp drug raise any ethical or legal issues?
3) Should Ebola Virus Disease be considered a Global Health problem or should it be just left to West African Countries to battle it on their own?

Reply

  • mmunen Marianne Munene 14 Aug 2014

    The WHO gathered a panel of 12 advisers and four resource persons, consisting of mostly doctors and professors, on Aug. 11 to discuss and assess the ethical implications of using an untested drug on humans suffering from Ebola.

    According to the WHO, the panel concluded that “it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention.”

    source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/explainer-what-is-zmapp-and-how-does-it-work/article20008152/

  • zannatul2025 Zannatul Ferdaus 20 Oct 2018

    zmap is a untrusted drugs. it should not use for sick person.

  • leandro Leandro Abade TGHN 22 Oct 2018

    This certainly is a controversial though much needed discussion topic. It seems that the WHO and MSF might take a pragmatic approach to the issue:
    "Administering experimental vaccines and drugs in an outbreak raises ethical and logistical complexities, such as delivering them to remote settings by aeroplane or motorbike and designing humane and rigorous clinical trials. The 2014–16 Ebola outbreak saw intense controversy over whether potential drugs and vaccines should be tested in randomized controlled trials, in which patients are assigned by chance to receive either the experimental treatment or standard care. MSF and officials at the WHO argued that withholding experimental medicines from patients who had few other options would be unethical."
    More here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05205-x

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