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UN: It's ethical to try untested Ebola medicines

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 7:17am
Ciaran Giles - Associated Press - Associated Press
 
              In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 11, 2014,  a health worker examines patients for Ebola inside a screening tent, at the Kenema Government Hospital situated in the Eastern Province around 300 km, (186 miles),  from the capital city of Freetown in Kenema, Sierra Leone.  Over the decades, Ebola cases have been confirmed in 10 African countries, including Congo where the disease was first reported in 1976. But until this year, Ebola had never come to West Africa.  (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)

The World Health Organization said it's ethical to use unproven Ebola drugs and vaccines in the outbreak in West Africa provided the right conditions are met.

The U.N. agency issued the statement Tuesday after holding a teleconference with experts Monday to discuss the issue.

In the biggest-ever outbreak of Ebola, two Americans have gotten an experimental Ebola treatment never tested in humans and two more treatments were reportedly on their way to treat two Liberia doctors. The developments have raised ethical questions about whether it's right to use untested treatments in people sickened by a disease that has no licensed treatment.

WHO said Tuesday that people can ethically receive such treatments but sidestepped the questions of who should get the limited drugs and how that should be decided.

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