Nigeria appeals for experimental Ebola drug

2014-08-13 11:38
A Nigerian health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

A Nigerian health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

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Abuja - Nigeria requested the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp on Wednesday, as the country reported its third death from the virus ravaging several West African nations.

"The Nigerian government has reached out to the US Centre for Disease Control to request for the unapproved Ebola drug, ZMapp, for the treatment of affected persons in Nigeria," said Information Minister Labaran Maku, adding it was still awaiting a response from Washington.

The appeal came a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) said untested treatments could be given to patients given the severity of the Ebola outbreak - the worst in history.

Canada's Public Health Agency said it could send between 800 to 1 000 doses of a different experimental Eboal drug to the WHO.

Limited supply 'exhausted'

Ten doses of the drug known as VSV-EBOV have already been sent to a hospital in Geneva, at the request of the WHO, and to the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Nigeria is the second African country to request ZMapp.

Liberia requested doses of the medicine, which has reportedly already been used on two doctors in the country. ZMapp was also given to two American aid workers, who are said to have shown strong improvement, and a Spanish missionary priest, who died on Wednesday in Madrid.

But it was unclear if Nigeria's request could be fulfilled, as ZMapp's American manufacturer said in a statement on Wednesday that it had "exhausted" its limited supply.

The new death reported in Nigeria on Wednesday brings the total number killed in that country to three.

Government official Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, aged 36, was in contact with Liberian government consultant Patrick Sawyer, who was the first person to die of Ebola in Nigeria on 25 July.

Ten Ebola cases have been confirmed in Nigeria, and 139 people are under surveillance, according to the Health Ministry.

Gambia, Ivory Coast and Zambia banned flights from Nigeria, and Zambia said Nigerian passengers would be quarantined for 30 days before permitted to enter the country.

There were 1 800 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola and more than 1 000 deaths as of 9 August, the WHO said.

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which share a border, have been the hardest-hit countries.

Read more on:    who  |  liberia  |  guinea  |  sierra leone  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  ebola

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