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
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?