No More Experimental Ebola Serum Is Left

ZMapp maker says it will take months to produce more
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2014 2:57 AM CDT
No More Experimental Ebola Serum Is Left
Spanish priest Miguel Pajares was evacuated from Liberia last week after testing positive for Ebola and died in a Madrid hospital yesterday.   (AP Photo/Juan Ciudad ONGD)

The United Nations has greenlighted the use of untested drugs to combat Ebola—but there aren't any doses of the Ebola drug ZMapp left. The drug's maker says it has exhausted its supply and it could be months before it can produce more, Bloomberg reports. California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. says it has complied with every request for the drug, which is made in tobacco plants. "Additional resources are being brought to bear on scaling up," the company says. "The emergency use of an experimental medicine is a highly unusual situation." The final doses will be used to treat two doctors in Liberia, the country's president says.

Canada, meanwhile, says it will send West Africa up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine it has developed, keeping a small amount in Canada for research and in case it is needed for Canadian patients, the BBC reports. Two Americans who received ZMapp are being treated in Atlanta and doctors expect them to recover, reports the AP, but an elderly Spanish priest who also received the drug after becoming infected in Liberia died in a Madrid hospital yesterday. The Americans were the first people ever to be treated with the drug, and the decision to give it to them instead of African health workers and patients has raised ethical questions, the New York Times notes in a look at the decision not to give ZMapp to a leading doctor in Sierra Leone who died from the disease. (More Ebola stories.)

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