The critical situation in West Africa stirred by the Ebola virus for which there is no cure has caused the World Health Organisation to allow unapproved medication to be administered to the patients suffering from the deadly disease.
No human effort seems to be strong enough to abate the storm the Ebola virus has caused in West Africa. Already, 1013 deaths have resulted from the deadly disease, with 1848 suspected cases. The fatality rate is at 54.8 %. The main difficulty is that no vaccine has been formulated to combat the virus. The disease is managed by relieving the patients from the symptoms – symptom management. No approved medication has made it to the market yet. Research works have attempted to produce medications; these have not yet completed all stages of testing. However, one such unapproved medication known as the ZMAPP has already been used on two Americans who were infected when they were providing assistance to affected regions of West Africa.
Now that the situation has reached a critical stage with no sign of improvement, the World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting whereby it was decided that the unapproved medications can be used to fight the rising wave of Ebola virus. The representatives of 10 countries who have contributed to this decision have deemed it ethical to make “compassionate use” of the medications.
WHO says the decision is an ethical one. Is it really? Medications are not approved of until it is proven beyond doubt that they have the positive effects on patients while not having extreme harmful side-effects. This is the reason why before a drug is certified as an approved medication, it has to go through many testing stages. The first steps include the use of animal cobayes. When the researchers have observed their effects, they decide whether or not to go for clinical trials involving humans. WHO has therefore declared that strict ethical guidelines will have to be followed when using the medications to cure patients. It has drawn out a list of criteria to adhere to.
So, the situation is so desperate that such desperate measures have had to be taken?