Japan ready to offer trial Ebola drug

Tokyo - Tokyo stands ready to offer an experimental drug developed by a Japanese company to help stem the global tide of the deadly Ebola virus, the top government spokesperson said on Monday.

"Our country is prepared to provide the yet-to-be approved drug in co-operation with the manufacturer if the WHO requests," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been discussing the use of unapproved drugs as a way of getting a handle on an outbreak in Africa that has already cost more than 1 400 lives, with thousands more people infected.

There is currently no available cure or vaccine for Ebola, and the WHO has declared the latest outbreak a global public health emergency.

Several drugs are under development.

Ethical debate

The use of an experimental drug called ZMapp on two Americans and a Spanish priest infected with the virus while working in Africa has opened up an intense ethical debate.

The drug, which is in very short supply, has reportedly shown promising results in the two Americans, although the priest died.

US company Mapp Bioparmaceutical which makes the drug said this month it had sent all its available supplies to west Africa.

The WHO earlier said a panel of medical experts had determined it is "ethical" to provide experimental treatments.

Healthcare fields

Suga said on Monday: "Even before the WHO reaches a conclusion, we are ready to respond to individual requests [from medical workers] under certain conditions if it is an urgent case."

The medication Suga was referring to is Avigan, a drug in tablet form that was approved as an anti-influenza drug in Japan in March and is currently in clinical tests in the United States.

Its developer Fujifilm Holdings said it had received inquiries from abroad but declined to say how many and from which countries.

The company, which has diversified into healthcare fields, has "no problem" over the amount of stockpiles, according to spokesman Takao Aoki.

"We have sufficient supplies for more than 20 000 people," he said.

Read more on: who us japan ebola health
Tauriq Hercules 2014-08-25 07:53:17 AM
What would the world do without Japan
Azana Booi 2014-08-25 08:13:34 AM
And the situation is forcing us to sniff up Anybody's Drug! Lord have Mercy.
Randall Ramsden 2014-08-25 08:24:09 AM
I agree! Anything made in Japan is the best!
Miles Lancmore 2014-08-25 08:30:29 AM
African countries always want aid and donations.Why cant we do our own things?
Lucas Liepner 2014-08-25 08:43:52 AM
"when the blind man carried the cripple man they both went forward". See the blind man as Japan as they not sure their drug will work... I say well done to Japan for coming out the woodwork... Asian counties are mostly very scarce in showing their face in these situations of help. And I'm sure it's a chance for Japan to showcase their marvelous medical discoveries...
Lucas Liepner 2014-08-25 08:43:53 AM
"when the blind man carried the cripple man they both went forward". See the blind man as Japan as they not sure their drug will work... I say well done to Japan for coming out the woodwork... Asian counties are mostly very scarce in showing their face in these situations of help. And I'm sure it's a chance for Japan to showcase their marvelous medical discoveries...
Mpadu 2014-08-25 09:13:58 AM
If you watch this typ of movies: Underworld, Twilight, World WarZ, The Residence Evil... U'll easly understand that. Its just BUSINESS. You a lier devil. Shame on u HIV.Aid,Ebola...
Tee Klemy 2014-08-25 09:24:23 AM
Its better when people try rather than folding hands.
Kirsty Prinsloo 2014-08-25 09:30:50 AM
This is an untested and unknown drug. The side effects are not known and neither is its effectiveness. Desperate people are going to fight to be test subjects. We can only hope and pray that it works. When you are drowning any rope thrown to you is going to be appreciated.