The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has caused enormous suffering, but scientists also see it as a chance to test experimental therapies that could save lives in the future. With declining case numbers, however, it is becoming less likely that all the drug tests will reach a conclusion. Now, scientists are debating whether some trials should be stopped so that tests of more promising therapies that have only now become available have a better chance of reaching a conclusion. An expert panel at the World Health Organization has given ZMapp and TKM-Ebola highest priority but in a recent meeting did not call for ongoing studies of favipiravir and convalescent blood to be stopped. The experts did convince a group of Italian doctors to test ZMapp instead of the heart drug amiodarone and criticized an interferon trial that has now started in Guinea.
Author: Kai Kupferschmidt