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WHO backs untested treatments for Ebola

Wednesday August 13th, 2014

Doctors treating the Ebola virus gained permission to use unproven treatments on patients yesterday.

The World Health Organisation set several conditions for doctors and clinics testing new treatments - which have been under development for at least ten years.

Several attempts have been made to try new treatments on patients already.

A US doctor is recovering from treatment but a Spanish Catholic priest has died in spite of being given a new treatment.

WHO said some treatments had shown promise in the laboratory - but had not been tested on human patients.

It said doctors using new treatments should collect and share data.

It said treatments must be given following ethical criteria to ensure patients gave informed consent and had freedom of choice and confidentiality.

In three days last week WHO received reports of 52 deaths and 69 new cases caused by the Ebola virus in four west African countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

A spokesman for WHO's panel of experts said: "There was unanimous agreement that there is a moral duty to also evaluate these interventions (for treatment or prevention) in the best possible clinical trials under the circumstances in order to definitively prove their safety and efficacy or provide evidence to stop their utilisation."

Tags: Africa | Flu & Viruses | World Health

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