Liberia to give two doctors trial drug
Liberia on Tuesday said, it would treat two infected doctors with the scarce experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, the first Africans to receive the treatment, while authorities in Spain said a 75-year-old priest had died of the disease, Reuters reports.
The death toll from the worst ever outbreak of the highly contagious disease has climbed to 1,013 since it was discovered in remote southeastern Guinea in March, according to the World Health Organisation.
It said ZMapp doses were very scarce, raising ethical questions of who should have priority.
Spanish authorities said a 75-year-old Spanish priest who contracted Ebola in Liberia had died. The government had announced on Sunday that Miguel Pajares, the first European infected by the strain, would also be treated with ZMapp manufactured by California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.
In addition to Pajares, ZMapp has already been administered to two US aid workers. The US citizens are now in a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, after being medically evacuated and have shown some signs of improvement.
The virus – one of the deadliest diseases known to man – has spread to four African countries, infecting a total 1,848 people, according to the WHO, which has branded the outbreak an international health emergency.
The epidemic in one of the world’s poorest regions, where crumbling healthcare systems are unable to cope, has opened an ethical debate on the use of trial drugs on humans. A WHO medical ethics committee was due to announce its findings on Tuesday, including on the sensitive issue of who should receive priority for the limited supplies of the drugs.