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WHO to convene experts discussion on experimental Ebola treatment

Posted on Aug 08 2014 | IANS

United Nations, Aug 8 : The World Health Organisation said Thursday it will convene a panel of experts in medical ethics next week to explore the use of experimental treatment of Ebola in West Africa.

"Currently there is no registered medicine or vaccine against the virus, but there are several experimental options under development," Xinhua quoted Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, as saying at a daily news briefing here.

"The World Health Organisation notes that the recent treatment of two health workers with experimental medicine has raised questions," Haq said.

"It stresses that the gold standard for assessing new medicine involves a series of trials in humans, and that the guiding principle with use of any new medicine is 'do no harm'," he added.

"However, Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general at the World Health Organisation, explained that the current situation was unusual and that guidance from medical ethicists was needed," he elaborated.

As a "secret serum" called ZMapp emerged as the primary treatment of two American aid workers infected with Ebola in West Africa, experts warned that it was too early to tell if the treatment is effective.

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