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Liberia Receives Doses of Ebola ‘Miracle Drug’ as Death Toll Passes 1,000

Ebola outbreak in GuineaEbola outbreak in GuineaEbola-outbreak.jpgThe government of Liberia confirmed that it had finally received doses of ZMapp, the Ebola “miracle drug,” following days of international outrage after ZMapp was administered to two Americans and a Spanish priest while 1,013 West Africans died from the devastating disease.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requested the drug, making a direct appeal to President Obama last Friday. In response, U.S. authorities helped connect the Liberian government with the drug’s manufacturer, Mapp Biopharmaceuticals in San Diego, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

“Since the drug was shipped for use outside the U.S., appropriate export procedures had to be followed,” the HHS spokesperson said.

A source told the New York Times that enough doses to treat three people were sent to Liberia, where they apparently will be administered to infected doctors. The doses reportedly will be delivered by an expert from the WHO, after being authorized by WHO head Margaret Chan.

While the two Americans treated with the drug, Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, reportedly are doing well, Spanish priest Miguel Pajares died on Tuesday in a hospital in Madrid. Reports indicated that it wasn’t clear whether he was treated with ZMapp before his death.

After a WHO medical ethics committee met on Monday to discuss the distribution of ZMapp, the panel issued a ruling that it is ethical to offer unproven drugs or vaccines as potential treatments or preventions in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak.

“Ebola outbreaks can be contained using available interventions like early detection and isolation, contact tracing and monitoring, and adherence to rigorous procedures of infection control,” the panel said in a statement.

“However, a specific treatment or vaccine would be a potent asset to counter the virus,” the panel said.

Mapp Biopharmaceutical said yesterday it had sent the last of its serum to Liberia at no cost, after receiving a request last week.

“The available supply of ZMapp is exhausted,” Mapp Biopharmaceutical of San Diego said in a statement.

Jeremy Writebol, son of North Carolina-based missionary Nancy Writebol, said on NBC’s Today show that his mother is doing well at an Atlanta hospital.

He said her eyes are getting brighter and she’s even joking a little.

He said doctors expect her to recover—and he wouldn’t be surprised if his parents want to return to Liberia after her recovery.

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