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WHO convenes ethical review of experimental Ebola therapies

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Monday convened a meeting of experts to assess the role of experimental therapies in the Ebola outbreak response.

“The recent treatment of two health workers infected with the Ebola virus with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether untested medicine should be used in the treatment,” Xinhua quoted UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric as saying.

The panel, consisting of ethicists and scientists, discussed whether it is ethical to use unregistered interventions with unknown adverse effects for possible treatment or prophylaxis, and what criteria should guide the choice of intervention, Dujarric said.

“Under the leadership of the WHO, activities in the field, in all four countries impacted by the outbreak, include infection prevention and control, community mobilisation and tracing of people who have been in contact with Ebola patients,” the spokesman added.

The Ebola virus, transmitted through body fluids, hit African nations of Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and in recent months spread to other neighbouring countries.

As per WHO figures on Aug 4, four countries have reported 1,711 cases, including 932 deaths.

Last week, the WHO warned that the disease is now “a public health emergency of international concern” and called for a coordinated international response to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.


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