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World Health Organization accelerates program to test Ebola drugs

| | September 10, 2014

Science to the rescue in West Africa? The World Health Organization is launching a crash programme to test experimental treatments on people who have Ebola, in an emergency bid to stem the epidemic. The move will get round regulatory barriers that have so far stopped one promising drug that is almost fully tested from being used in the epidemic.

“This is absolutely unprecedented,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, head of innovation at the WHO, on 5 September, after a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, of drug developers, regulators and African health authorities had approved the plan. “We must move as fast as possible.”

WHO ethical guidelines allow treatments that have passed initial safety tests but haven’t yet been fully tested and approved to be used to try and save lives – as long as information is gathered to help establish whether the treatment works. The Geneva meeting agreed to test two experimental vaccines and a handful of other treatments on this basis. This includes treating patients with blood from Ebola survivors and using drugs that have halted Ebola in mice and monkeys.

Read the full, original story: WHO fast-tracks use of experimental drugs for Ebola

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