A panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization has unanimously endorsed the idea of offering unproven vaccines or treatments to help combat the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
This outbreak is unusual not just because it has spread to four countries and involves so many people, says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organization. It is also the first Ebola outbreak that could possibly benefit from a range of potential experimental treatments and vaccines.
“If these treatments can save lives, as the animal studies suggest, should we not use them to save lives?” Kieny asked.
Many caution against panicking but this isn’t really a panicky response given the fact that there is an outbreak in the part of the world where this will be offered. There are times when standing on procedure needs to get tossed out of the window. If people are willing to consent to the treatment after thoroughly being briefed about its experimental nature they should be allowed to proceed.