Ethical issue: Who gets experimental Ebola drug?

This photo provided by the CDC shows an ebola Virus. (AP Photo/CDC)
This photo provided by the CDC shows an ebola Virus. (AP Photo/CDC)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The use of an experimental drug to treat two Americans diagnosed with Ebola is raising ethical questions about who gets first access to unproven new therapies for the deadly disease.

But some health experts fear debate over limited doses will distract from tried-and-true measures to curb the growing outbreak – things like more rapidly identifying and isolating the sick.

The World Health Organization is convening a meeting of medical ethicists next week to examine what it calls “the responsible thing to do” about whatever supplies eventually become available of a medicine that’s never been tested in people.

Scientists stress that there’s no way to tell if the experimental drug ZMapp really helped two American aid workers infected while working in Liberia. The manufacturer says producing more doses will take months.

blog comments powered by Disqus