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WHO Declares Ebola Emergency

As the World Health Organization calls the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa an international public health emergency, the US Food and Drug Administration green-lights the potential use of another experimental drug.

By | August 8, 2014

CDC PUBLIC HEALTH IMAGE LIBRARYThe World Health Organization (WHO) today (August 8) declared the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the third-ever PHEIC designation the agency has issued. To date, 1,711 people have been reported as infected with the deadly virus, and 932 people in West Africa have died. “This is currently the largest EVD [Ebola virus disease] outbreak ever recorded,” the WHO reiterated in its statement.

The declaration, epidemiologist Jeffrey Duchin from the University of Washington told Nature News, “tells us is that this is a really serious problem right now in West Africa that requires a full-court press by the international community to get it under control.”

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has modified the hold it placed on Tekmira Pharmaceutical’s Investigational New Drug application for TKM-Ebola, enabling “the potential use of TKM-Ebola in individuals infected with Ebola virus,” the firm announced yesterday (August 7).

“We are pleased that the FDA has considered the risk-reward of TKM-Ebola for infected patients,” Mark Murray, Tekmira’s CEO and president, said in the statement. “We have been closely watching the Ebola virus outbreak and its consequences, and we are willing to assist with any responsible use of TKM-Ebola.”

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