The ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa has brought on a global call for action. The message is being sent directly to pharma manufacturers. The issue remains: Currently, there is no medicine or vaccine that’s registered, let alone approved, to treat the deadly disease.
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According to Bloomberg News, “U.S. government researchers are working hard to get an experimental flu drug from Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. quickly approved to treat Ebola, as the death toll rises in West Africa amid the worst outbreak on record. Fujifilm’s U.S. partner MediVector Inc. in Boston is in talks with the Food and Drug Administration to submit an application to begin using the drug in humans for Ebola, according to Department of Defense spokeswoman Amy Derrick-Frost.”
However, there is some controversy over the use of largely untested drugs. Many of the solutions that are in development are at such early stages that some haven’t even undergone animal testing.
Nevertheless, the severity of the outbreak has lead global health officials to consider options based on the current market. While Medivector’s flu vaccine is a top contender, other companies have emerged, as well.
The Wall Street Journal notes, “Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., which makes the treatment called ZMapp, had planned to start testing ZMapp’s safety in humans in clinical trials next year, President Larry Zeitlin said in an email. The company, which has nine employees, had been focused on making a limited amount of ZMapp for testing in animals, which is why so little is available.”
Officials are considering ZMapp as one of the first drugs specifically designed to treat Ebola to help treat the West African outbreak. In addition, other medications and vaccines, like the one recently provided to two infected Americans, have also received recognition despite their low testing rates.
Reuters states, “U.S.-based Inovio and privately owned Vaxart are among those with experimental vaccines in animal testing, while GlaxoSmithKline last year acquired Swiss vaccine firm Okairos with an early-stage Ebola product.” [/show_to]