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?

Your thoughts...?

Tags: ebola, ethics, medical, protocols

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"..many a person has died for the lack of a drug which later on was proved to meet effectivness and safety standards"

It's unlikely there are statistics available for the number of lives saved by the non-prescribing of the rejected drugs.

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.

It's a good point. They have just introduced legislation in the UK for terminally ill or incurable patients to opt in to being test subjects for new medicines before they are approved for general release. I think it's ingenious and a good start.

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.

I don't know. You're dragging your feet a bit with abolishing the death penalty.
LOL! And still dragging our knuckles with believing in global warming.

Here in USA land the opt in for experimental medication may work if the sick can pay the pharmaceuticals what they want to charge.

My old boss, dead now, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given eight months to get his affairs in order. He found a doctor in Arizona that was able to perform surgery that prolonged my boss's life for one year. The cost? 1 million dollars. He did not accept insurance and it had to be deposited the day before the surgery. He paid him and lived about a year and a half before cancer ate him up.

I would be SOL.

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.

 

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