KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Treating Americans With Untested Ebola Drug Raises Concerns

Using the experimental drug before it is tested in clinical trials will make it difficult to determine whether it is actually safe and effective, say scientists. Meanwhile, African officials say they have been inundated with requests from dying patients and their relatives for the same treatment. 

Los Angeles Times: Use Of Experimental Ebola Drug Raises Red Flags Among Medical Experts
Two American aid workers were gravely ill, fighting to survive infection with the deadly Ebola virus. A San Diego drug company had three doses of an experimental Ebola medicine that showed promise in monkeys but had never been tested in humans. Getting the medication to the two patients in Liberia seemed like the obvious thing to do. Members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the Christian aid organization Samaritan's Purse worked together to make it happen ... But what looks like a simple case of humanitarian goodwill could lead to some unintended and very negative consequences, experts said Tuesday (Morin, 8/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Ebola Virus: Giving Americans Drug Prompts Flak
Liberian officials were set to meet Wednesday with the World Health Organization to see about getting the experimental drug rushed into use for other patients, said Dr. Nyenswah. Ebola, which is usually fatal, causes fever, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea and can cause internal bleeding. The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids. The Ebola outbreak, the largest in history, started in February and has spread through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone (McWhirter, Loftus and Hinshaw, 8/5).

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