Via The Globe and Mail, a report from The Associated Press and Reuters: Ebola: Spain using experimental drug to treat priest as WHO debates treatment. Excerpt:
Spain has imported a U.S.-made experimental Ebola drug to treat a Spanish missionary priest who was evacuated from Liberia last week after testing positive for the killer virus.
The Health Ministry announced Monday that the ZMapp drug, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. of San Diego, was obtained in Geneva this weekend and brought to Madrid to treat Miguel Pajares. The 75-year-old priest was evacuated from Liberia and placed in isolation Thursday at Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital.
The ethical questions surrounding experimental Ebola drugs and vaccines were being debated Monday during a teleconference of medical ethicists and other experts organized by the World Health Organization.
There is no known cure or licensed treatment for Ebola, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the current outbreak in West Africa.
Two Americans diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia and evacuated back to the United States have been treated with ZMApp, which has never been tested in humans and whose effectivness is still uncertain. One of the Americans, Kent Brantly, said last week that his condition was improving and the husband of the aid worker being treated with Brantly said the same thing. Both are being treated in isolation at an Atlanta hospital.
At least one country in West Africa has expressed interest in the experimental drug. Nigeria’s health minister, Onyenbuchi Chukwu, said at a news conference last week that he had asked U.S. health officials about access but was told the manufacturer would have to agree.
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “there are virtually no doses available,” a CDC spokesman said last week, before the announcement that Spain was also using the drug.