Ebola outbreak: Liberia sent untested ZMapp treatment as death toll passes 1,000

Anger is growing that only Westerners have so far been given the drug

An experimental Ebola treatment is being sent to Liberia for two ill doctors who will become the first Africans to receive the untested ZMapp drug.

A Spanish priest and two American aid workers are the only people to have received it so far, prompting anger that only Westerners have had a possible treatment for a disease ravaging four African countries.

ZMapp is one of several drugs in development to attempt to stop the deadly outbreak, which has no confirmed cure and has so far killed more than 1,000 people.

More than half of those infected with the highly contagious disease die. It begins with flu-like symptoms and can escalate to vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.

It was unclear how much ZMapp is being sent to Liberia but its American manufacturer, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, said it had already run out of its supply in response to demand from an unidentified West African country.

The serum has not been tested for safety or effectiveness in humans and the company said it would take months to produce even modest quantities.

Read more: What is ZMapp and could the experimental treatment stop the disease?
‘Patient zero’ identified by scientists as a two-year-old toddler in Guinea
Ebola vaccine 'could be ready by 2015'
US AID WORKERS ‘IMPROVING’ AFTER TAKING SERUM
BRITISH EXPERTS URGE US AND WHO TO ‘GIVE AFRICANS CURE’

The American aid workers given the drug after being evacuated from Liberia are said to be improving but there is no way to know whether the drug is responsible or whether they are recovering naturally like other survivors.

The Spanish priest, Miguel Pajares, 75, died on Tuesday at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, where he was being treated in isolation.

Spain's Health Ministry confirmed it had obtained a course of the American-manufactured drug for Mr Pajares but the hospital would not say on Tuesday whether it had been used.

The Atlanta hospital treating one of the US aid workers stricken with the Ebola virus, and preparing to receive a second, has appealed to the public to show compassion, after receiving 'nasty emails' asking why the patients were allowed back into the country The Atlanta hospital treating the US Ebola sufferers appealed to the public to show compassion after receiving 'nasty emails' asking why the patients were allowed back into the country The outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea, although it probably started earlier, and has since spread to neighbouring Liberia, Sierra Leone and possibly Nigeria.

Authorities have recorded 1,848 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of the disease, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.

Marcel Guilavogui, a pharmacist in Conakry, Guinea, said the possibility that ZMapp could work was worth the risk of side effects.

“There's no reason to try this medicine on sick white people and to ignore blacks,” he said.

“We understand that it's a drug that's being tested for the first time and could have negative side effects. But we have to try it in blacks too.”

People have been using the hashtag #GiveUsTheSerum to call for greater access to the drug on Twitter.

“The alternative for not testing this is death, a certain death,” Liberia's information minister, Lewis Brown, told the Associated Press.

Guinean authorities also want to use ZMapp but Sierra Leone had not requested to the drug.

The serum, made from antibodies grown inside tobacco plants, aims to boost the immune system's response to Ebola.

To address the ethical dilemma of using an untested treatment, WHO consulted infectious disease experts, patient representatives and the Doctors Without Borders group.

Video: Liberian politicians call for delay amid outbreak

Conclusions from the meeting, involving delegates from several countries, will be announced later on Tuesday.

Companies can provide experimental drugs on a “compassionate use” basis, usually after they have been fully tested in humans.

WHO officials previously said an Ebola vaccine should be ready for public use by 2015.

Read more: Ebola outbreak: Guinea closes its borders to contain virus
Burial staff at risk as dead more contagious than the living
DEADLY EPIDEMIC DECLARED INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
THEY'D FIND A CURE IF EBOLA CAME TO LONDON
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own