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Missionary priest with Ebola dies in Madrid – so-called “miracle serum” ZMapp fails to save his life
Posted By Contributing Author On August 13, 2014 @ 4:30 pm In Armageddon Scenarios,Editor's Choice,Featured,Health,International,News,Science | 1 Comment
An elderly Spanish priest infected with Ebola has died in a Madrid hospital, five days after being evacuated from Liberia. The 75-year-old Roman Catholic priest, Miguel Pajares, was being treated in Spain with an experimental US serum, ZMapp, after being flown to Madrid on August 7.
He contracted Ebola at the Saint Joseph Hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia where he worked with patients suffering from the disease. It is confirmed. He died at 9:28 am,” said a spokeswoman for Spain’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital. The priest had been treated with ZMapp, she said. The medicine arrived at Madrid’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital on Saturday after Spain’s drug safety agency exceptionally cleared its import to treat the deadly disease. Ebola has now claimed four lives in 10 days among the staff of the same Saint Joseph Hospital in Monrovia, which has since been shut down.
The hospital is run by the Juan Ciudad ONGD charity, which was established by a Spanish Roman Catholic order, the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God. The religious order issued a statement confirming the priest’s death. It thanked the government and people for their support, highlighting the “good work” by hospital staff who treated the priest. The use of the experimental drug has raised a host of ethical issues. So far ZMapp has been used to treat two infected Americans and the Spanish priest but no Africans for the disease that has been ravaging West Africa for months and has killed about 50 per cent of those it infects. A panel of medical experts on Tuesday determined it was ethical to provide experimental treatments to patients infected with the deadly virus, the World Health Organization said. Medical experts from around the world took part in the WHO-hosted discussions on Monday to draft guidelines for using non-authorized medicines in emergencies such as Ebola.
There is no known cure or licensed treatment for Ebola, which has killed over 1000 people in the current outbreak in West Africa. The World Health Organization has called the Ebola outbreak – which emerged in Guinea in March and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and possibly Nigeria – an international health emergency and urged nations worldwide to battle the disease.
The drug’s maker, Mapp Pharmaceutical of San Diego, said on Monday that “the available supply of ZMapp is exhausted,” adding that it provided the drug at no cost and recipients “include medical doctors in two West African countries.” Nigerian officials say they had asked US health authorities about getting the Ebola drug last week. “It certainly looks bad that only three Westerners have gotten the drug while most of the people with Ebola are African,” said Art Caplan, director of bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Centre. He said the pharmaceutical maker must make its policy for distributing its treatment clear.
“I don’t think this scarce resource should just be given to whoever is best connected.”
Still, Mr. Caplan said there might be a reasonable explanation for why only Westerners were given the drug, including the need for a sophisticated medical centre to administer it and monitor the patient carefully since the drug hasn’t been tested in humans. But some Africans said giving the experimental drug only to Westerners was patently unfair.
“There’s no reason to try this medicine on sick white people and to ignore blacks,” said Marcel Guilavogui, a pharmacist in Conakry, Guinea
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Contributed by Contributing Author of Sydney Morning Herald .
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