On Nov. 11 and 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) called the world’s leaders on Ebola to decide which promising experimental therapies to begin rigorously testing in order to fight the West Africa outbreak.
There are many encouraging candidates, from the blood of Ebola survivors to drugs that use the latest developments in genetic engineering. None, however, have been properly tested for safety or effectiveness in human patients. Some have been tested in animal models of the disease and have successfully controlled the virus, but the gold standard for any human treatment, be it drug or vaccine, is testing in patients who have been affected by a disease. Since scientists can’t ethically intentionally infect volunteers with the Ebola virus, regulatory agencies like WHO are considering moving some of these treatments directly from animal studies to infected patients in West Africa.
The committee also reviewed information from 18 Ebola patients who…
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