LONDON The World Health Organization (WHO) said the scale and severity of the current outbreak of Ebola virus and the difficulties of applying infection control measures to limit its spread make it ethical to administer unregistered treatments and vaccines.
In addition to the many more cases and wider geographical extent, another important difference from previous outbreaks is that research and development carried out over the past 10 years means a number of medicines and vaccines are close to clinical development.
The WHO hopes its ethical approval will expedite development. While several products "have proved very effective" in animal trials in non-human primates, none have undergone testing in humans. "That does not mean they are not safe," said Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director general of WHO. "With so many lives being lost, we find ourselves facing a dilemma: Should we use them?"
The WHO has been bombarded with