Japan ready to offer trial Ebola drug

Tokyo - Tokyo stands ready to offer an experimental drug developed by a Japanese company to help stem the global tide of the deadly Ebola virus, the top government spokesperson said on Monday.

"Our country is prepared to provide the yet-to-be approved drug in co-operation with the manufacturer if the WHO requests," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been discussing the use of unapproved drugs as a way of getting a handle on an outbreak in Africa that has already cost more than 1 400 lives, with thousands more people infected.

There is currently no available cure or vaccine for Ebola, and the WHO has declared the latest outbreak a global public health emergency.

Several drugs are under development.

Ethical debate

The use of an experimental drug called ZMapp on two Americans and a Spanish priest infected with the virus while working in Africa has opened up an intense ethical debate.

The drug, which is in very short supply, has reportedly shown promising results in the two Americans, although the priest died.

US company Mapp Bioparmaceutical which makes the drug said this month it had sent all its available supplies to west Africa.

The WHO earlier said a panel of medical experts had determined it is "ethical" to provide experimental treatments.

Healthcare fields

Suga said on Monday: "Even before the WHO reaches a conclusion, we are ready to respond to individual requests [from medical workers] under certain conditions if it is an urgent case."

The medication Suga was referring to is Avigan, a drug in tablet form that was approved as an anti-influenza drug in Japan in March and is currently in clinical tests in the United States.

Its developer Fujifilm Holdings said it had received inquiries from abroad but declined to say how many and from which countries.

The company, which has diversified into healthcare fields, has "no problem" over the amount of stockpiles, according to spokesman Takao Aoki.

"We have sufficient supplies for more than 20 000 people," he said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1260 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
51% - 6409 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
35% - 4409 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 424 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.23
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
19.81
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.76
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.54
-0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.1%
Gold
1,790.16
-0.1%
Silver
20.34
-1.2%
Palladium
2,294.50
+1.7%
Platinum
961.50
+1.6%
Brent Crude
97.40
+1.1%
Top 40
64,617
+2.3%
All Share
71,265
+2.2%
Resource 10
65,851
+2.1%
Industrial 25
87,063
+2.9%
Financial 15
15,964
+1.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE