It appears there may be a new way to fight ebola, since an experimental serum appears to have had a nearly miraculous effect in its first application to a young male American doctor who had caught ebola. A second victim, a middle-aged female volunteer aid worker, also American, has also received the serum, and she's improving, apparently, though not as quickly as the doctor.
All the networks have medical experts, doctors, commenting on the disease and explaining how the serum works, but you can almost sense them hoping they aren't asked about the ethical aspects. You see, there normally are protocols to be followed before that would forbid just giving an experimental and unproven drug to someone outside these protocols.
Normally, it takes years of first animal tests before CONTROLLED tests on humans are tried. The controls are there to make sure that (a) the drug works as hoped and (b) has no deleterious side effects.
These protocols have been a major source of friction and frustration because many a person has died for the lack of a drug which later on was proved to meet effectivness and safety standards.
Finally, there's the sticky question of why were two Americans chosen as test subjects rather than two of the African victims?
It's unlikely there are statistics available for the number of lives saved by the non-prescribing of the rejected drugs.
Probably very few, since we're typically talking about people whose prognosis was grim. People at death's door who might even have been beyond the point where an effective drug might have helped them.
I don't think it's ingenious. I think it's common sense and compassionate and it's beyond me that it's taken this long. Maybe the US will follow.
In 1982 two Australian Scientists thought they'd discovered that stomach ulcers and the like were in fact caused by bacteria, not previously believed to be microbial , the crazy but brilliant pair were so sure they could give themselves Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria and cure it with antibiotics) - that one of them drank the bacteria and gave himself up to be cured by his buddy , luckily for them both, they were right , thanks to these crazy but brilliant two, many many millions of people don't have to live with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers and the links between Helicobacter pylori and stomach cancers is a major breakthrough too. So I guess sometimes there are always going to be rule breakers and occasionally brilliant well meaning ones , sometimes it's completely unselfish to volunteer yourself up as a crash test dummy to maybe speed up the red tape that wastes time at the cost of those who are suffering now? Maybe it's a brave thing they did like Aussies Barry and Robin? Maybe those 2 American Scientists chose themselves as the Aussies did to save time? I can honestly say I truly believe just because something is against the law doesn't always mean it is wrong... That's what I think anyway and we don't really have the details "whom and how" they were chosen only what we've heard i guess.