Ebola: WHO Okays Untested Zmapp Drugs  *As ECOWAS Staff Dies of Virus in Lagos

World Health Organization says untested drugs can be used to treat patients infected with the Ebola virus, considering the scale of the outbreak and more than 1,000 recorded deaths in West Africa.

The WHO made the statement after its medical experts met in Switzerland on Monday to discuss the issue even as officials warned there were very limited supplies of potential treatments.

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny from the WHO said that there has been “unanimous agreement” among experts.

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

In a statement, it said: “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.”

However, the drug has only been tested on monkeys and has not yet been evaluated for safety in humans.

Meanwhile Nigeria has recorded the third death as a result of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country.

The ECOWAS Commission Tuesday night announced the passing of a staff member of its Lagos Liaison Office, Mr. Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, aged 36 who had been under quarantine following the death of Patrick Sawyer.

A Protocol Assistant, Abdulqudir, was among those who assisted the Liberian delegate to a regional meeting Mr. Patrick Sawyer, who died from the Ebola Virus Disease at a Lagos hospital on 25th July 2014.

In a statement Tuesday night, the ECOWAS Commission said, “The Management of the Commission wishes to commiserate with Mr. Abdulqudir’s family and colleagues and prays for the repose of his soul.

“Before this sad event, the Commission working in collaboration with Nigerian health authorities, had disinfected all the facilities of the ECOWAS Lagos Liaison Office as part of precautionary measures to safeguard the health, safety and security of staff members, and will continue to monitor the situation.

“Management has also intensified awareness campaign among staff on the deadly virus and uses this opportunity to invoke the spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance.

“The Commission wishes to reassure staff of all Community Institutions all over the entire region that it is taking all necessary steps to guarantee their health and safety.

“Furthermore, Management enjoins all staff members and community citizens in general to intensify the observance of personal hygiene. They should also report any suspected case to health facilities and seek medical advice or attention for the effective containment and defeat of the Ebola disease.

“On the directive of regional leaders, ECOWAS has already set up a Solidarity Fund to fight the disease and has solicited the support contribution of Member States and development partners to the Fund to rid the region of the virus.

“The ECOWAS Commission wishes to reiterate its continued commitment to support Member States in confronting this deadly virus”.

Recall that few days after Sawyer died, one of the nurses that assisted him also died.

Also on Monday, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, confirmed that another nurse who assisted Sawyer has tested positive to the deadly virus.

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News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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