Ebola: Nigeria approves use of trial drug

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 13th, 2014
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The National Code for Health Research Ethics Committee of Nigeria has endorsed the use of an experimental drug known as Zmapp for the treatment of patients infected with the Ebola virus.

The approval is contained in a statement issued to journalists by the Chairman of the committee, Clement Adebamowo, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The statement reads, “It is ethical to use these treatments in the current situation without first submitting an application to National, State or Institutional Health Research Ethics Committee for prior review and approval.

“In addition, the Committee waives the current requirement that international shipment of any biological samples out of Nigeria should be preceded by the establishment of a Materials Transfer Agreement.

“This waiver is to promote rapid international response to this global emergency,” the statement said.

The committee, which comprises research scientists, is a national body under the Federal Ministry of Health, which in the statement, it emphasized that all innovative and non-validated treatments should be carefully and adequately documented.

According to the statement, the documentation can form the basis for clinical trials of the efficacy and side effects of the treatment according to established scientific principles.

The ethics committee, still in the statement, tasked all agencies, development partners and research scientists to follow the guideline for the rapid resolution of the current emergency.

“The guideline will contribute to preparedness in case of future occurrences and contribution to scientific knowledge.

“It must be noted that all Phase O and Phase I Clinical Trials that may subsequently be designed for treatment of this infection can be approved only by the National Health Research Ethics Committee,” it said.

The committee’s decision is coming on the heels of Tuesday’s approval by the World Health Organisation, WHO, on the use of experimental drug, Zmapp, for treatment of Ebola patients.

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