The Ebola virus outbreak has some critics saying it’s wrong for the experimental drug ZMapp to be used on two white Americans when hundreds of black Africans are dying from the deadly virus. But if the drug can potentially help, why isn’t it being released in volume to the world?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, the 2014 Ebola outbreak was predicted to hit the United States by the World Health Organization (WHO). Patients in New York City and Ohio were tested for the Ebola virus and it’s feared that illegal immigrants may spread the Ebola virus further. The only good news is that the Americans infected with the Ebola virus were given an Ebola treatment plan called ZMapp and appear to be improving. Some hope the drug may lead to an Ebola cure, but President Obama put a damper on those hopes by saying that experimental drugs will not be used.
The ZMapp treatment is not necessarily an Ebola virus cure since it’s intended to boost the patient’s immune system by introducing a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies. In lab tests, ZMapp is claimed to have caused 80 percent of mice and two separate studies on monkeys had mortality rates of 50 and 43 percent, which is still an improvement considering that only a little over 20 percent of the infected survive with normal treatment plans.
Because ZMapp has not yet officially moved beyond animal testing to human testing, it’s claimed the Ebola drug is not ready to be dispersed to the public. Mapp Biopharmaceutical says they won’t be ready to begin human safety testing until next year. The limited supplies of ZMapp currently available are already almost gone, and even if they began full production, it would take months to get the Ebola drug out into the field. The only reason these two Americans were given it is because Samaritan’s Purse, the aid organization that employs Dr. Brantly, specifically requested the Ebola treatment plan.
According to the New York Times, Dr. Salim S. Abdool Karim, director of Caprisa, an AIDS research center in South Africa, claims that if the ZMapp drug had been used in West Africa then there would have been a political fallout:
“It would have been the front-page screaming headline: ‘Africans used as guinea pigs for American drug company’s medicine.'”
The United States is forming a group to consider the issue, but Nancy Kass, a professor of bioethics and public health at Johns Hopkins University, does not find it troublesome that health workers were given ZMapp first, whether they be American or West African:
“I think there are very special commitments that we must make ethically to the health care providers that are willing to go in and serve.”
Dr. Caplan of NYU Langone says the moral debate over the Ebola drug will probably not have a lasting impact on the actual Ebola outbreak, and instead says the focus should be on quarantines and other standard practices:
“Morally, everyone is keenly interested in who should get the drug. What is the best thing to do to bring that outbreak to a close? And I don’t think it’s drugs.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) just declared a public health emergency and the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak even has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raising their emergency response to America’s Ebola outbreak to level 1, which is the highest it has been since Hurricane Katrina:
“Ops Center moved to level 1 response to given the extension to Nigeria and potential to affect many lives.”
The only good news is that the Ebola virus is not airborne and can only be passed by close contact with the body fluids of an infected person or animal.