12 Aug 2014

Ebola Outbreak: Experimental drug #ZMapp supply exhausted

The Ebola drug given to two Americans and a Spanish priest has been sent to treat infected doctors in two West African countries, and the supply of the medicine is now gone, its manufacturer said.

Countries including Nigeria and Liberia had requested the drug, called ZMapp. Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., based in San Diego, said it has complied with every request for the drug that was authorized by legal and regulatory authorities. The drug was provided at no cost, according to Mapp.
“It is our understanding that all patients offered treatment, treated, or expected to be treated were or are highly capable of providing informed consent for the use of an experimental drug not yet evaluated for safety in animals or people,” the company said yesterday in a statement.
Mapp and its partners, Defyrus Inc. and a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., are working with the U.S. government to quickly increase production, the company said.
“Additional resources are being brought to bear on scaling up,” the company said. “The emergency use of an experimental medicine is a highly unusual situation.”
Providing a small amount of an experimental drug to West Africa won’t help control the outbreak, said Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The focus needs to remain on basic public health and infection control measures, he said.
“How can a couple of doses control an outbreak with hundreds and hundreds of people?” Fauci said by phone. “You don’t control the epidemic with two or three doses.”
Mapp, in its statement, didn’t identify which countries had received the remaining doses. The company said those who requested the drug can reveal their acquisition or use of the experimental drug.

The Ebola outbreak has killed 1,013 of the 1,848 people infected in West Africa as of Aug. 9, the World Health Organization said in a statement on its website. While other diseases are much more common and deadly, there is no cure for Ebola and it has moved quickly between countries, putting the global health community in high alert. Widespread malaria, which killed more than 600,000 people last year, is preventable and curable, according to the WHO.

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