WHO Emergency Meeting On Ebola Underway; To Convene Discussion On Ethics Of Experimental Treatment

Media outlets report on the WHO emergency meeting on Ebola currently underway and discuss the announcement that the WHO will also convene experts to discuss the ethics of using experimental treatment for Ebola.

ABC News: World Health Organization to Debate Ethics of Using Experimental Ebola Drug in Outbreak
“A panel of World Health Organization ethicists will discuss whether to use experimental drugs in the West African Ebola outbreak that has killed 932 people since March. Two American patients have received an experimental Ebola drug called ZMapp made by Mapp Pharmaceuticals, a 9-person company in San Diego…” (Lupkin, 8/6).

Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost: WHO calls ethics meeting over experimental Ebola drug
“The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it was convening an ethics meeting next week to explore the use of experimental treatment in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The move comes after two health workers from the U.S. charity Samaritan’s Purse were treated with medication that the WHO said had never been tested and shown to be safe in people…” (8/6).

Associated Press/Seattle Times: Ethical issue: Who gets experimental Ebola drug?
“The use of an experimental drug to treat two Americans diagnosed with Ebola is raising ethical questions about who gets first access to unproven new therapies for the deadly disease. But some health experts fear debate over extremely limited doses will distract from tried-and-true measures to curb the growing outbreak — things like more rapidly identifying and isolating the sick. The World Health Organization is convening a meeting of medical ethicists next week to examine what it calls ‘the responsible thing to do’ about whatever supplies eventually may become available of a medicine that’s never been tested in people…” (Neergaard, 8/7).

BBC: Ebola: Global experts begin emergency talks at WHO
“Global health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) are meeting to discuss new measures to tackle the Ebola outbreak. The meeting is expected to last two days and will decide whether to declare a global health emergency…” (8/6).

New York Times: Expert Panel to Consult on Ebola
“Scrambling to catch up with the worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday that it was considering the declaration of an international public health emergency and would convene a panel of experts in coming days to explore the use of experimental treatments for the incurable disease…” (Gladstone, 8/6).

Reuters: WHO consults ethics experts on wider use of experimental Ebola drugs
“The use of an experimental drug on two U.S. charity workers with the deadly Ebola virus has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider the implications of making such treatments more widely available, it said on Wednesday. The Geneva-based agency, which is hosting a two-day Emergency Committee of experts to decide on the international response to the disease that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa, said it would convene a meeting of medical ethics experts early next week…” (Miles/Kelland, 8/6).

Reuters: Ebola emergency turns spotlight on experimental drugs
“With hundreds of patients in Africa suffering the devastating effects of Ebola, health experts are scrambling to determine which drugs might offer the best experimental treatment, and researchers are being pressed by government officials to speed up their work…” (Steenhuysen/Begley, 8/7).

TIME: Experts to Discuss Using Experimental Ebola Drugs
“The World Health Organization is convening a panel of medical ethicists next week to discuss whether experimental vaccines and drugs that have not been approved or tested in humans should be used to treat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa…” (Sifferlin, 8/6).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: emergency U.N. meeting underway as death toll surpasses 900
“The U.N. health agency [yesterday] began an emergency meeting of international medical and health experts in Geneva to review the current Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa amid reports that new cases and deaths continue to be reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone…” (8/6).

Washington Post: WHO to convene panel on use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa
“The World Health Organization said Wednesday that it would convene a group of medical ethicists early next week to wrestle with questions about the use of experimental drugs in the deepening Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has now claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 people. The issue has received widespread attention after two U.S. missionaries — infected by the virus while treating patients in Liberia — received doses of an Ebola drug still under development…” (Dennis/Bernstein, 8/7).

WHO: WHO to convene ethical review of experimental treatment for Ebola
“Early next week, WHO will convene a panel of medical ethicists to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Currently there is no registered medicine or vaccine against the virus, but there are several experimental options under development. The recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan’s Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used in the outbreak and, given the extremely limited amount of medicine available, if it is used, who should receive it…” (8/6).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.