A panel of medical experts has ruled that it is ethical for infected patients to be treated with experimental drugs such as ZMapp, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said at about the same time the US has agreed to send ZMapp, an Ebola drug, to Liberia.
According to a Skynews report, Medics Zukunis Ireland and Abraham Borbor are expected to be the first Africans to be treated with ZMapp and have given written consent, Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis Brown said.
Mr Brown told Reuters the Liberian government received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the pair to be treated before the drug could be exported – and that supplies should arrive in the next 48 hours.
The UN health agency 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.”
Treatment with experimental drugs requires informed consent, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for the person, preservation of dignity and involvement of the community, the WHO said.
The virus has spread to four African countries – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria – infecting a total 1,848
people, according to the WHO, which has branded the outbreak an international health emergency.
The latest outbreak has killed around 55-60% of those infected.