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Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. A day later, no one had yet received the treatment, which officials said would go to three people.

With more than 1,060 deaths and 1,975 sickened, the Ebola outbreak is already the deadliest ever. And the World Health Organization said Thursday that there is evidence those figures may “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”

The U.N. health agency said it was prepared for the crisis to continue for months.

The outbreak, which was first identified in March in Guinea and since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, a virus transmitted by contact with bodily fluids, so doctors have turned to the limited supply of untested drugs to treat some cases.

The Liberian government had previously said two doctors would receive ZMapp, but it was unclear who else would. Information Minister Lewis Brown said Thursday it would probably be another health care worker.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The outbreak has sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving such untested drugs to the sick and of deciding who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received ZMapp. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died within days.

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions. In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

He added people past the “critical phase” who looked likely to survive would not be chosen.

Massaquoi said there was only enough of the drug to treat three people. Treatment will be staggered, so doctors can observe the effects in one patient before moving on to the next. Late Thursday, he said the treatment had not yet started.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice of who to treat would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments.

He said the question is not “whose life do we save?” but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients need to be good experimental subjects – people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or perhaps younger patients, he said. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, which might eliminate those living in remote places, he added.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department ordered families of embassy personnel to leave Sierra Leone on Thursday because of concerns that the crisis would make it difficult to get treatment for even routine health problems.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone Thursday about the Ebola outbreak with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and in another call with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. The White House said Obama expressed his condolences for the hundreds who have died in both countries and underscored the U.S.’s commitment to work with West African nations and U.N. agencies to contain the outbreak.

Also, Nigeria announced Thursday that another person had died from Ebola, bringing the country’s death toll to four. The Health Ministry said the person was a nurse who helped treat the country’s first Ebola case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month and died.

The ministry corrected its total number Ebola cases to 10 instead of 11 as it had reported earlier in the day.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams and Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia; Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. A day later, no one had yet received the treatment, which officials said would go to three people.

With more than 1,060 deaths and 1,975 sickened, the Ebola outbreak is already the deadliest ever. And the World Health Organization said Thursday that there is evidence those figures may “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”

The U.N. health agency said it was prepared for the crisis to continue for months.

The outbreak, which was first identified in March in Guinea and since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, a virus transmitted by contact with bodily fluids, so doctors have turned to the limited supply of untested drugs to treat some cases.

The Liberian government had previously said two doctors would receive ZMapp, but it was unclear who else would. Information Minister Lewis Brown said Thursday it would probably be another health care worker.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The outbreak has sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving such untested drugs to the sick and of deciding who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received ZMapp. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died within days.

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions. In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

He added people past the “critical phase” who looked likely to survive would not be chosen.

Massaquoi said there was only enough of the drug to treat three people. Treatment will be staggered, so doctors can observe the effects in one patient before moving on to the next. Late Thursday, he said the treatment had not yet started.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice of who to treat would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments.

He said the question is not “whose life do we save?” but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients need to be good experimental subjects – people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or perhaps younger patients, he said. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, which might eliminate those living in remote places, he added.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department ordered families of embassy personnel to leave Sierra Leone on Thursday because of concerns that the crisis would make it difficult to get treatment for even routine health problems.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone Thursday about the Ebola outbreak with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and in another call with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. The White House said Obama expressed his condolences for the hundreds who have died in both countries and underscored the U.S.’s commitment to work with West African nations and U.N. agencies to contain the outbreak.

Also, Nigeria announced Thursday that another person had died from Ebola, bringing the country’s death toll to four. The Health Ministry said the person was a nurse who helped treat the country’s first Ebola case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month and died.

The ministry corrected its total number Ebola cases to 10 instead of 11 as it had reported earlier in the day.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams and Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia; Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. A day later, no one had yet received the treatment, which officials said would go to three people.

The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would. Information Minister Lewis Brown said Thursday it would probably be another health care worker.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea. It has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened, according to the World Health Organization. There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, a virus transmitted by contact with bodily fluids like blood, sweat, urine, diarrhea and vomit.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department ordered families of embassy personnel to leave Sierra Leone because of concerns that the crisis would make it difficult to get treatment for even routine health problems.

Meanwhile, police in riot gear dispersed an angry crowd Thursday in the Liberian capital of Monrovia who blocked city buses to protest delays in clearing away the infectious body of an Ebola victim.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone Thursday about the Ebola outbreak with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and in another call with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. The White House said Obama expressed his condolences for the hundreds who have died in both countries and underscored the U.S.’s commitment to work with West African nations and U.N. agencies to contain the outbreak.

The outbreak has sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested to the sick and of deciding who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received ZMapp. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died within days.

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions. In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

He added people past the “critical phase” who looked likely to survive would not be chosen.

Massaquoi said there was only enough of the drug to treat three people. Treatment will be staggered, so doctors can observe the effects in one patient before moving on to the next. Late Thursday, he said the treatment had not yet started.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice of who to treat would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments.

He said the question is not “whose life do we save?” but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients need to be good experimental subjects – people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or perhaps younger patients, he said. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, which might eliminate those living in remote places, he added.

Nigeria announced Thursday that another person had died from Ebola, bringing the country’s death toll to four. The Health Ministry said the person was a nurse who helped treat the country’s first Ebola case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month and died.

The ministry corrected its total number Ebola cases to 10 instead of 11 as it had reported earlier in the day.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams and Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia; Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. A day later, no one had yet received the treatment, which officials said would go to three people.

The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would. Information Minister Lewis Brown said Thursday it would probably be another health care worker.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea. It has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened, according to the World Health Organization. There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, a virus transmitted by contact with bodily fluids like blood, sweat, urine, diarrhea and vomit.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department ordered families of embassy personnel to leave Sierra Leone because of concerns that the crisis would make it difficult to get treatment for even routine health problems.

Meanwhile, police in riot gear dispersed an angry crowd Thursday in the Liberian capital of Monrovia who blocked city buses to protest delays in clearing away the infectious body of an Ebola victim.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone Thursday about the Ebola outbreak with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and in another call with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. The White House said Obama expressed his condolences for the hundreds who have died in both countries and underscored the U.S.’s commitment to work with West African nations and U.N. agencies to contain the outbreak.

The outbreak has sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested to the sick and of deciding who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received ZMapp. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died within days.

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions. In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

He added people past the “critical phase” who looked likely to survive would not be chosen.

Massaquoi said there was only enough of the drug to treat three people. Treatment will be staggered, so doctors can observe the effects in one patient before moving on to the next. Late Thursday, he said the treatment had not yet started.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice of who to treat would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments.

He said the question is not “whose life do we save?” but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients need to be good experimental subjects – people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or perhaps younger patients, he said. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, which might eliminate those living in remote places, he added.

Nigeria announced Thursday that another person had died from Ebola, bringing the country’s death toll to four. The Health Ministry said the person was a nurse who helped treat the country’s first Ebola case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month and died.

The ministry corrected its total number Ebola cases to 10 instead of 11 as it had reported earlier in the day.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams and Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia; Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. A day later, no one had yet received the treatment, which officials said would go to three people.

The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would. Information Minister Lewis Brown said Thursday it would probably be another health care worker.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea. It has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened, according to the World Health Organization. There is no licensed treatment for Ebola, a virus transmitted by contact with bodily fluids like blood, sweat, urine, diarrhea and vomit.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

Police in riot gear dispersed an angry crowd Thursday in the Liberian capital of Monrovia who blocked city buses to protest delays in clearing away the infectious body of an Ebola victim.

President Barack Obama spoke by phone Thursday about the Ebola outbreak with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and in another call with President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. The White House said Obama expressed his condolences for the hundreds who have died in both countries and underscored the U.S.’s commitment to work with West African nations and U.N. agencies to contain the outbreak.

The outbreak has sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested to the sick and of deciding who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received ZMapp. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died within days.

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions. In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

He added people past the “critical phase” who looked likely to survive would not be chosen.

Massaquoi said there was only enough of the drug to treat three people. Treatment will be staggered, so doctors can observe the effects in one patient before moving on to the next. Late Thursday, he said the treatment had not yet started.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice of who to treat would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments.

He said the question is not “whose life do we save?” but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients need to be good experimental subjects – people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or perhaps younger patients, he said. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, which might eliminate those living in remote places, he added.

Nigeria announced Thursday that another person had died from Ebola, bringing the country’s death toll to four. The Health Ministry said the person was a nurse who helped treat the country’s first Ebola case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month and died.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams and Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia; Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday, although another health official said there was only enough for three people.

The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened by it, according to the World Health Organization.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

On Thursday, police in riot gear dispersed an angry crowd in the Liberian capital of Monrovia who were protesting that an Ebola victim’s body had not been taken away by health workers.

The outbreak has also sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested to the sick and deciding who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received ZMapp. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died within days.

Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers and whose staff have tussled with whether to provide ZMapp, said such choices present “an impossible dilemma.”

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

He added people who were past the “critical phase” and looked likely to survive would not be chosen.

In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

Massaquoi said there was only enough of the drug to treat three people. Treatment will be staggered, so doctors can observe the effects in one patient before moving on to the next. It was not clear yet if the treatment had started.

The confusion over how many people could be treated may stem from the fact that doctors don’t know the best dose to try since the drug has never been tested in humans.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice of who to treat would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments.

He said the question is not “whose life do we save?” but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients need to be good experimental subjects – people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or perhaps younger patients, he said. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, which might eliminate people living in remote places, he added.

Nigeria announced Thursday that one more person has been infected with Ebola, bringing the country’s number of cases to 11. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the latest patient is a doctor who helped treat the country’s first Ebola case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month and died July 25.

All Nigerians who contracted the killer virus have had direct contact with Sawyer.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams and Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia, and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday, although another health official said there was only enough for three people.

The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened by it, according to the World Health Organization.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and raised questions about whether authorities are doing enough to respond.

On Thursday, police in riot gear dispersed an angry crowd in the Liberian capital of Monrovia who were protesting that an Ebola victim’s body had not been taken away by health workers.

The outbreak has also sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested to the sick and deciding who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received ZMapp. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died within days.

Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers and whose staff have tussled with whether to provide ZMapp, said such choices present “an impossible dilemma.”

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

He added people who were past the “critical phase” and looked likely to survive would not be chosen.

In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

Massaquoi said there was only enough of the drug to treat three people. Treatment will be staggered, so doctors can observe the effects in one patient before moving on to the next. It was not clear yet if the treatment had started.

The confusion over how many people could be treated may stem from the fact that doctors don’t know the best dose to try since the drug has never been tested in humans.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice of who to treat would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments.

He said the question is not “whose life do we save?” but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients need to be good experimental subjects – people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or perhaps younger patients, he said. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, which might eliminate people living in remote places, he added.

Nigeria announced Thursday that one more person has been infected with Ebola, bringing the country’s number of cases to 11. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the latest patient is a doctor who helped treat the country’s first Ebola case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month and died July 25.

All Nigerians who contracted the killer virus have had direct contact with Sawyer.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams and Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia, and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday. The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left in the world. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak that was first detected in March in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has killed more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened by it, according to the World Health Organization.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested for safety or efficacy to the sick, and over who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received it. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died.

Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers and whose staff have tussled with whether to provide ZMapp, said such choices present “an impossible dilemma.”

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

Massaquoi said people who were past the “critical phase” and looked likely to survive would not be treated with it.

In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments. Since it’s not clear whether the drug is effective, Caplan said the question is not, whose life do we save, but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients should be chosen at least partially based on whether they will make good experimental subjects. That could mean choosing people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or younger patients. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, he said, and that might eliminate people who live in remote places.

Liberian officials stressed that only people who signed a consent form would receive the drug. Caplan said it was important to inform people about the risks of taking the drug, but that “if you’re terminally ill with a dread disease … you almost can’t imagine anybody saying no.”

Nigeria announced Thursday that one more person has been infected with Ebola, bringing the country’s number of cases to 11. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the latest patient is a doctor who helped treat the first Ebola case in the country, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month with the virus and died July 25.

All Nigerians who contracted the virus have had direct contact with Sawyer.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams in Monrovia, Liberia, and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday. The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left in the world. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak that was first detected in March in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has killed more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened by it, according to the World Health Organization.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested for safety or efficacy to the sick, and over who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received it. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died.

Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers and whose staff have tussled with whether to provide ZMapp, said such choices present “an impossible dilemma.”

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

Massaquoi said people who were past the “critical phase” and looked likely to survive would not be treated with it.

In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments. Since it’s not clear whether the drug is effective, Caplan said the question is not, whose life do we save, but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients should be chosen at least partially based on whether they will make good experimental subjects. That could mean choosing people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or younger patients. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, he said, and that might eliminate people who live in remote places.

Liberian officials stressed that only people who signed a consent form would receive the drug. Caplan said it was important to inform people about the risks of taking the drug, but that “if you’re terminally ill with a dread disease … you almost can’t imagine anybody saying no.”

Nigeria announced Thursday that one more person has been infected with Ebola, bringing the country’s number of cases to 11. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the latest patient is a doctor who helped treat the first Ebola case in the country, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month with the virus and died July 25.

All Nigerians who contracted the virus have had direct contact with Sawyer.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams in Monrovia, Liberia, and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian officials faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday. The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left in the world. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

The Ebola outbreak that was first detected in March in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has killed more than 1,060 of the 1,975 people sickened by it, according to the World Health Organization.

The outbreak has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested for safety or efficacy to the sick, and over who should get the drugs. So far, only two Americans and one Spaniard have received it. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died.

Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers and whose staff have tussled with whether to provide ZMapp, said such choices present “an impossible dilemma.”

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

Massaquoi said people who were past the “critical phase” and looked likely to survive would not be treated with it.

In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those sickened with Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the choice would have to balance helping the largest number of people with learning the most from the treatments. Since it’s not clear whether the drug is effective, Caplan said the question is not, whose life do we save, but “who gets the chance to be experimented on?”

For that reason, recipients should be chosen at least partially based on whether they will make good experimental subjects. That could mean choosing people who have recently contracted the disease and are more likely to respond to treatment or younger patients. In order to study the long-term effects, doctors will likely prefer people who can be observed for months, he said, and that might eliminate people who live in remote places.

Liberian officials stressed that only people who signed a consent form would receive the drug. Caplan said it was important to inform people about the risks of taking the drug, but that “if you’re terminally ill with a dread disease … you almost can’t imagine anybody saying no.”

Nigeria announced Thursday that one more person has been infected with Ebola, bringing the country’s number of cases to 11. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the latest patient is a doctor who helped treat the first Ebola case in the country, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month with the virus and died July 25.

All Nigerians who contracted the virus have had direct contact with Sawyer.

DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Wade Williams in Monrovia, Liberia, and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday. The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left in the world. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

An Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has killed more than 1,060 of the 1,970 people sickened since it was detected in March, according to the World Health Organization. It has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested for safety or efficacy to the sick.

The charity group Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers and whose staff have tussled with whether to provide ZMapp, said such choices present “an impossible dilemma.”

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

Massaquoi said people who were past the “critical phase” and looked likely to survive would not be treated with it.

In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those getting Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

So far, ZMapp has been given to three people: two Americans and a Spaniard priest. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died earlier this week in Madrid.

Nigeria announced Thursday that one more person has been infected with Ebola, bringing the country’s number of cases to 11. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the latest patient is a doctor who helped treat the first Ebola case in the country, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month with the virus and died July 25.

All Nigerians who contracted the virus have had direct contact with Sawyer.

Associated Press writer Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.

Liberia gets Ebola drug; ponders who should get it

KDWN

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening.

ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday. The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would.

These are the last known doses of ZMapp left in the world. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply.

An Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has killed more than 1,060 of the 1,970 people sickened since it was detected in March, according to the World Health Organization. It has overwhelmed the already strained health systems in West Africa and sparked an international debate over the ethics of giving drugs that have not yet been tested for safety or efficacy to the sick.

The charity group Doctors Without Borders, which is running many of the Ebola treatment centers and whose staff have tussled with whether to provide ZMapp, said such choices present “an impossible dilemma.”

Now Liberian officials are facing those questions.

“The criteria of selection is difficult, but it is going to be done,” said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who helped Liberia obtain the drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical. “We are going to look at how critical people are. We are definitely going to be focusing on medical staff.”

Massaquoi said people who were past the “critical phase” and looked likely to survive would not be treated with it.

In this outbreak, over 50 percent of those getting Ebola have died, according to the U.N. health agency.

So far, ZMapp has been given to three people: two Americans and a Spaniard priest. The Americans are improving – but it is unclear what role the drug has played. The Spaniard died earlier this week in Madrid.

Nigeria announced Thursday that one more person has been infected with Ebola, bringing the country’s number of cases to 11. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the latest patient is a doctor who helped treat the first Ebola case in the country, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who flew in last month with the virus and died July 25.

All Nigerians who contracted the virus have had direct contact with Sawyer.

Associated Press writer Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.