Uganda gets go-ahead to administer experimental Ebola treatments
At least another 1,411 people have died in DRC since August
Kampala — Health workers have got the all-clear to use three experimental Ebola treatments in Uganda, a week after the deadly disease spread over the border from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), authorities said on Tuesday.
Two people who had travelled from DRC died in Uganda last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. A three-year-old boy who was sent back to DRC after testing positive for the disease, died at the weekend, DRC's health ministry said.
At least another 1,411 people have died in DRC since August in the second-worst outbreak of the disease on record.
"Happy to inform you all that we got clearance from both Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and National Drug Authority to bring in the therapeutic treatment for #Ebola patients in the country," Uganda's health minister, Jane Ruth Aceng, said on Twitter.
The treatments approved for shipment to Uganda were Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' Regeneron and Gilead Science's Remdesivir, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said.
“The protocols for the fourth [are] being submitted. Logistics [are] under way with MSF support for importation of a few courses about 10 each,” he added in an e-mail.
The UN health agency has said there have been no known cases of Ebola spreading between people in Uganda so far — all recorded patients had travelled in from DRC.
Four experimental therapeutic treatments are already being used in DRC, it added.
On Friday, a WHO panel decided not to declare an international emergency over DRC's Ebola outbreak, despite its spread to Uganda, saying such a declaration could cause too much economic harm.
"Obviously, the crisis is far from over," Mark Green, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), told a news conference in Nairobi.
Health workers and people who came into contact with infected people began receiving a Merck experimental vaccine in Uganda on Saturday.