Nigeria appeals for experimental Ebola drug

Abuja - Nigeria requested the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp on Wednesday, as the country reported its third death from the virus ravaging several West African nations.

"The Nigerian government has reached out to the US Centre for Disease Control to request for the unapproved Ebola drug, ZMapp, for the treatment of affected persons in Nigeria," said Information Minister Labaran Maku, adding it was still awaiting a response from Washington.

The appeal came a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) said untested treatments could be given to patients given the severity of the Ebola outbreak - the worst in history.

Canada's Public Health Agency said it could send between 800 to 1 000 doses of a different experimental Eboal drug to the WHO.

Limited supply 'exhausted'

Ten doses of the drug known as VSV-EBOV have already been sent to a hospital in Geneva, at the request of the WHO, and to the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Nigeria is the second African country to request ZMapp.

Liberia requested doses of the medicine, which has reportedly already been used on two doctors in the country. ZMapp was also given to two American aid workers, who are said to have shown strong improvement, and a Spanish missionary priest, who died on Wednesday in Madrid.

But it was unclear if Nigeria's request could be fulfilled, as ZMapp's American manufacturer said in a statement on Wednesday that it had "exhausted" its limited supply.

The new death reported in Nigeria on Wednesday brings the total number killed in that country to three.

Government official Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, aged 36, was in contact with Liberian government consultant Patrick Sawyer, who was the first person to die of Ebola in Nigeria on 25 July.

Ten Ebola cases have been confirmed in Nigeria, and 139 people are under surveillance, according to the Health Ministry.

Gambia, Ivory Coast and Zambia banned flights from Nigeria, and Zambia said Nigerian passengers would be quarantined for 30 days before permitted to enter the country.

There were 1 800 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola and more than 1 000 deaths as of 9 August, the WHO said.

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which share a border, have been the hardest-hit countries.

Deeked De Dose 2014-08-13 11:49:53 AM
Damned if you do and damned if you don't... If they don't send the drugs, they will be accused of being heartless, and if they send the drugs they will be accused of being reckless (when it emerges the drugs were not properly tested and the side effects are presented)
Enzo Ball 2014-08-13 12:01:49 PM
And what happened to African solutions to African problems? Or is knocking on the door of the West the African solution?
Chase Cameron 2014-08-13 12:03:38 PM
Make your own drugs, you don't want the West to interfere. F off.
Victor Ndabenhle Mkhaliphi 2014-08-13 12:20:54 PM
Could the African medical researchers enlighten us if there is any Ebola virus related work that they have and are continuing to do, particularly South Africa. If it is primarily a question of funding, I think the Western African countries can support particular a certain South African medical research institution through funding for intense research. It is disheartening to rely completely on western countries on a disease that originates and is prevalent in Africa. Coming up with a vaccine and drugs here in Africa will save the affected countries a lot of money. I do however appreciate very strongly the kindness and the zeal shown by the western countries in all they do for Africa,especially the investments they are making in developing the Ebola vaccines and treatment drugs.
Joe Black 2014-08-13 12:33:43 PM
I understand that these countries and of course the patients are desperate, but then anybody taking the drug must sign an indemnity form so that they cannot sue the labs involved if complications or even death occurs as a result from use of the drug. The human body is a complicated affair. I sympathize deeply with the victims, but I can also understand the need for proper trials. That said - Were I in the victim's shoes I would sign an indemnity form given the choice since it really is the only option available. This is a terrible disease.
Stefan Van Der Spuy 2014-08-13 01:38:26 PM
You don't fool around with Ebola. This is one rare instance where the world must really stand together. What if there's a sudden worldwide outbreak? Why can't the pharmaceutical industry put their collective resources together to manufacture enough ZMapp to wipe this virus off the face of the earth?
Chase Cameron 2014-08-13 01:52:25 PM
You can get the drugs when you change your homophobic laws and get rid of Boko Haram. Until then, gaan k-k in die mielies.
Helen Sanya 2014-08-13 03:47:51 PM
Why can't this useless AFRICAN leaders invest money in research instead of wasteful expenditure.