There Are Serious Ethical Concerns On Both Sides Of The Ebola Drug Trial Debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health officials are scrambling to begin human testing of a handful of experimental drugs for Ebola. But the effort has sparked an ethical debate over how to study unproven medicines amid an outbreak that has killed nearly 5,000.

U.S. officials say the studies must include one critical feature of traditional medical testing: a control group of patients who do not receive the drugs. But many European and African authorities argue that withholding drugs from study participants is unethical, given that the current outbreak kills between 50 and 80 percent percent of those infected in West Africa, according to Doctors Without Borders. They favor alternative studies in which every patient receives drug therapy.

The split in testing philosophies means different researchers may wind up testing the same drugs using different approaches.

While there are no established drugs for Ebola, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the emergency use of several experimental ones in U.S. patients. But agency officials say it’s impossible to tell what affect the drugs have because patients in the U.S. also receive aggressive medical care, including fluid replacement, oxygen therapy and antibiotics.

Comparing patients receiving drug therapy to patients who are not is a long-established testing technique considered —> Read More Here


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