Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Power To Play God…

An experimental drug has healed all 18 monkeys infected with the deadly Ebola virus!
The monkeys were given ZMapp 3-5 days after they were infected with Ebola and symptomatic: that's several days later than any other experimental Ebola treatment tested so far. This is the first monkey test ever done with ZMapp.
It's not known how well the drug would work in people, who can take up to 21 days to show symptoms and are not infected the way these monkeys were in a lab, but it's very encouraging that the animals recovered...even after advanced Ebola had developed.
ZMapp had never been tested in humans, before two US aid workers in Africa who got Ebola were allowed it. The rest of the limited supply was given to five others.
Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people this year. Last Friday, it spread to a 5th.African country - Senegal.
ZMapp's maker says the small supply of the drug is now exhausted and it'll take about a month to make 20-40 doses. There're plans for a clinical trial on people early next year eg: experts need to know what a safe and proper dose for humans should be.
Meanwhile those infected have nothing left to lose, so surely it would be humane to use ZMapp as soon as some is produced. The big question is not "should it be used on humans before it has been trialled?"...but more, "who should be given it before trials are done?"
Which organisation will be given the power over life-and-death...
and the authority to save a life BEFORE trials are over?
Who gets to play God?

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