Why Can't Everyone Try Experimental Ebola Drug?
Distribution could 'do more harm than good': expert
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Aug 6, 2014 8:43 AM CDT
A CDC official stands under a map showing the agency's deployment of workers in West Africa at the agency's Emergency Operations Center, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(Newser) – Two Americans suffering from Ebola have been treated with an experimental drug, and they've reportedly seen big improvements. Is it time to try sending ZMapp to West Africa to aid the hundreds suffering from the disease? No, experts tell the Los Angeles Times. Drugs require extensive testing in order to determine whether they do their job safely, and offering ZMapp for widespread use could prevent researchers from making that judgement. "There's a fairly good chance that it could do more harm than good," an expert says, adding that some patients who could have survived on their own might end up dying if they use the drug. If the two Americans survive, the Times notes that ultimately the only "certainty is that the drug didn't kill them."

While Ebola is believed to be fatal in 45% to 90% of cases, the Times notes, certain traits appear to be associated with a higher chance of survival, LiveScience reports. One is a tougher immune system that can handle damage to cells called CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes. Those with certain types of a gene called human leukocyte antigen-B—related to immune function—may also have a better shot against the disease. And a mutation in the gene known as NPC1 may make people resistant to the disease in the first place. Click for the latest.

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Showing 3 of 45 comments
cetude
Aug 12, 2014 7:08 AM CDT
Viruses can mutate. Why do you think Amantadine no longer works for the flu bug - the virus became immune to the drug. In fact, Tamiflu is becoming ineffective due to mutations. HIV is another example which is why these people depend on a cocktail, which has to be switched - due to mutation. Now think how mutation will affect EBOLA. These experimental drugs can create a bigger monster :-)
baldpirate
Aug 7, 2014 3:02 PM CDT
ACTUALLY - it has to do with the US FDA regulations and world wide regulations regarding medications or devices that have not been through clinical trials proving said drug or device works without doing more harm than good. The Declaration of Helsinki, The Belmont Report, The International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) and Good Clinical Practices (GCP) Guidelines all have been put into place so human testing of unproven medications or devices will never again see the abuses that of The Tuskegee Syphilis Study ever again. Also, as in this case, the POTUS can set aside all of these regulations should the severity meet the proper criteria. If you're really interested, click on any of these links: http://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/ethics-articles/The_Tuskegee_Syphilis_Study_and_Its_Implications_for_the_21st_Century/ http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.html http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/ http://www.fda.gov/scienceresearch/specialtopics/runningclinicaltrials/guidancesinformationsheetsandnotices/ucm219488.htm http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/Guidances/ucm073122.pdf
Veritas
Aug 7, 2014 11:56 AM CDT
Drug companies needs sick people, give them a drug to make them feel better but not cure them, so they will have to continue taking the drug, so the Drug companies make more money. Healthy people are not in the drug companies best interest.