Via BusinessWeek.com: Ebola Drug Supply Is Exhausted After Doses Sent to Africa. Excerpt:
The Ebola drug given to two Americans and a Spanish priest has been sent to a West African country that requested it, and the supply of the medicine is now exhausted, its manufacturer said.
Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., based in San Diego, said it was told by U.S. health officials that the countries, including Nigeria and Liberia, had requested the drug, called ZMapp. The company said it has complied with every request for the drug that was authorized by legal and regulatory authorities. It said it provided the drug at no cost.
“It is our understanding that all patients offered treatment, treated, or expected to be treated were or are highly capable of providing informed consent for the use of an experimental drug not yet evaluated for safety in animals or people,” the company said in a statement.
The additional patients allocated the drug include medical doctors in two West African countries as well as the Americans and the Spanish priest.
Mapp and its partners, Defyrus Inc. and a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., and are working with the U.S. government to quickly increase production, the company said in the statement.
“Additional resources are being brought to bear on scaling up,” the company said. “The emergency use of an experimental medicine is a highly unusual situation.”
The decision comes as a panel of ethicists convened today by the World Health Organization weighs the use of experimental drugs that have shown early promise against a disease that’s killed almost 1,000 people this year. The panel is considering whether the drugs, which haven’t been widely tested for safety, should be used in an outbreak where 40 percent of infected people survive and, if so, who should get them from what may be a limited supply.
“This is the first effort to have a long-overdue, transparent, public discussion about how to distribute life-saving medicines in an emergency,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, in a telephone interview. “A ton of attention is going to follow this panel.”
Judging from this report in FrontPageAfrica, one country requesting the drug is Liberia, and the doctors involved include Abraham Barbor and Omega Singar of the JFK Medical Center in Monrovia.