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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:47 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 56044
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
WHO has warned of Ebola treatment scams.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:47 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 56044
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
From: <WorldHealthOrganizationNews@who.int>
Date: August 15, 2014 at 10:42:09 AM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: WHO Ebola News /15 August 2014

WHO Ebola news
15 August 2014

Geneva: 15 August 2014--The scale, duration, and lethality of the Ebola outbreak have generated a high level of public fear and anxiety, which extends well beyond West Africa. Such reactions are understandable, given the high fatality rate and the absence of a vaccine or cure.

Recent intense media coverage of experimental medicines and vaccines is creating some unrealistic expectations, especially in an emotional climate of intense fear. The public needs to understand that these medical products are under investigation. They have not yet been tested in humans and are not approved by regulatory authorities, beyond use for compassionate care.

Evidence of their effectiveness is suggestive, but not based on solid scientific data from clinical trials. Safety is also unknown, raising the possibility of adverse side effects when administered to humans. For most, administration is difficult and demanding. Safe administration of some requires facilities for intensive care, which are rare in West Africa.

WHO has advised that the use of experimental medicines and vaccines under the exceptional circumstances of this outbreak is ethically acceptable. However, existing supplies of all experimental medicines are either extremely limited or exhausted.

While many efforts are under way to accelerate production, supplies will not be augmented for several months to come. Even then, supplies will be too small to have a significant impact on the outbreak.

WHO welcomes the decision by the Canadian government to donate several hundred doses of an experimental vaccine to support the outbreak response. A fully tested and licensed vaccine is not expected before 2015.

Another source of public misunderstanding, especially in affected areas, comes from rumours on social media claiming that certain products or practices can prevent or cure Ebola virus disease.

Decades of scientific research have failed to find a curative or preventive agent of proven safety and effectiveness in humans, though a number of promising products are currently under development.

All rumours of any other effective products or practices are false. Their use can be dangerous. In Nigeria, for example, at least two people have died after drinking salt water, rumoured to be protective.

The most effective personal behaviours are avoiding well-known high-risk situations, knowing the symptoms of infection, and reporting early for testing and care. Evidence suggests that early supportive care improves the prospects of survival.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious but only under very specific conditions involving close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or corpse. Most infections have been linked to traditional funeral practices or the unprotected care, in homes or health facilities, of an infected person showing symptoms.

Apart from these specific opportunities for exposure to the virus, the general public is not at high risk of infection.

WHO media contacts:
Gregory Hartl
Telephone: +41 22 791 4458; Mobile: +41 79 203 6715;
Email: hartlg@who.int

Tarik Jasarevic
Telephone: +41 22 791 50 99; Mobile: +41 79 367 62 14;
Email: jasarevict@who.int

Fadéla Chaib
Telephone: + 41 22 791 3228; Mobile:+ 41 79 475 55 56 ;Email: chaibf@who.int

More information about Ebola can be found at: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en/

All WHO information can be found at: www.who.int


PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:52 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 56044
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Agencies Issue Warnings Over Bogus Ebola Cures
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.AUG. 15, 2014

Panic over Ebola has the makers of dietary supplements aggressively targeting Africans, claiming to have a cure for the lethal virus.

Late this week, both the World Health Organization and the United States Food and Drug Administration issued strong warnings about false Ebola cures. The latter threatened American companies with penalties if they continue making such claims.

Neither agency listed products or companies they accused of fraud or explained why they had acted so suddenly.

Nigeria’s health minister was widely reported on Thursday to have endorsed an American nutritional supplement, one that the W.H.O. said was an example of the sort of “false rumors of effective products” it was trying to quell.

Earlier this week, a W.H.O. expert panel ruled it ethical to try some experimental drugs to fight this outbreak; some supplement makers have implied that ruling constituted permission for use of their products, though a top W.H.O. official emphasized that it did not.

While discussing the shipment to Liberia of an experimental drug the panel did endorse, ZMapp, Nigeria’s health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said an unidentified Nigerian scientist living overseas had arranged for Nigeria to get a different experimental medicine, according to Nigerian news outlets. They identified it as NanoSilver, a supplement offered by the Natural Solutions Foundation, which said that it contains microscopic silver particles, although, as a food supplement, it is not tested by regulatory agencies. Silver kills some microbes on surfaces and in wounds, but it can be toxic and is not F.D.A.-approved for systemic use against viruses.

ZMapp is a set of antibodies made by the Mapp company of San Diego. Only a few doses exist, and the first two were given to American health workers who contracted Ebola in Liberia and are now hospitalized in Atlanta.

NanoSilver is for sale on the foundation’s website alongside hemp oil, ear candles, chocolate and “mental clarity packs.”

Recently, the foundation’s medical director, Dr. Rima E. Laibow, posted an “open letter to heads of Ebola-impacted states,” dated July 29, claiming that NanoSilver cured Ebola. She also claimed to have addressed 47 African health ministers at a 2007 conference and to be in touch with “West African governments and their advisers.”

Dr. Laibow could not be reached for comment. On Friday afternoon, after The New York Times emailed her a series of questions, two of her websites briefly became unavailable, then reappeared with headlines saying they were “under attack” and directing readers to other sites selling a different product, Silver Solution.

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director general of the W.H.O., said that testing promising treatments “doesn’t mean that any crazy idea that people have — things that have barely been tested in anything — will now be brought to Africa to test on patients. This is absolutely out of the question.”

A W.H.O. spokesman, Gregory Hartl, said NanoSilver was an example of the type of product Dr. Kieny was referring to.

Erica Jefferson, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, said her agency issued its warning both to alert consumers “and to give the perpetrators the opportunity to remove their products.”

Although the agency’s chief mission is to protect Americans, she said the warning was also issued in French, which is widely spoken in West Africa.

Because no Ebola drug is F.D.A.-approved, the agency did not name any drugs it endorses.

But the warning did have a link to a Q. and A. document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that named biotech companies with National Institutes of Health or Department of Defense grants to develop products to fight Ebola. While most products do not yet have brand names, the companies included Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals,

How Ebola Spread
A report in The New England Journal of Medicine traces the spread of the recent Ebola outbreak from Guéckédou, Guinea, to towns nearby.

The suspected first case, a 2-year-old child living in Meliandou Village, Guéckédou, dies after being sick for four days.
A health care worker from Guéckédou hospital dies at Macenta hospital after being sick for five days.
A relative of the Macenta hospital doctor dies in Nzérékoré.

A doctor at Macenta hospital who treated the health care worker dies. His funeral is held in Kissidougou.

The child’s sister, mother and grandmother die. The village midwife is hospitalized in Guéckédou and also dies.
Two of the Macenta doctor’s brothers die in Kissidougou.

Those products “are not available to consumers online,” Ms. Jefferson pointed out.

Since the outbreak started, many rumored cures have swept West Africa. A popular Nigerian rumor is that bathing in or drinking saltwater is protective. Bags of “blessed Ebola cure salt” are for sale.

While bathing in saltwater is harmless, drinking large amounts of it is not. The W.H.O. said two Nigerians have died of it.

Arthur L. Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University’s Langone School of Medicine, said world health agencies should create two panels: one of scientists to pick which experimental drugs should be tried, and a second of bioethicists to ascertain that desperate, sometimes illiterate patients were giving true informed consent.

And, he added, Western scientists must tread carefully in countries with other healing traditions.

“If you’re going to say ‘no’ to the healer who wants to use eye of newt to cure Ebola, you’ve got to do it respectfully, or you’ll lose them,” he said.

Dr. Caplan said false claims of cures for Ebola were “predictable, but hugely worrying.”

“Whenever there is fear, misery and death, there are people who will take your money promising you a cure,” he said. “It happens here — we all remember laetrile and the Hoxsey cure,” he added, naming cancer treatments based on apricot pits and caustic herbs.

Over the 30-year history of the AIDS epidemic, many quack H.I.V. cures have been marketed to Africans — especially in the days before Western donors began sending millions of doses of generic antiretroviral drugs.

One particularly damaging episode occurred in South Africa in 1997, when three Pretoria scientists claimed to have discovered a cure, which they named Virodene.

Rejected by the national drug-regulatory agency, they conducted human trials secretly and then got the ear of President Thabo Mbeki, who invited “cured AIDS patients” to speak to his cabinet. The cabinet enthusiastically endorsed the drug, and breathless headlines proclaimed Virodene the “African miracle.”

It later turned out to contain a dangerous industrial solvent, and the subsequent backlash against Mr. Mbeki by the largely white South African medical community was thought to have contributed to his years of AIDS denialism.

A version of this article appears in print on August 16, 2014, on page A6 of the New York edition with the headline: Agencies Issue Warnings Over Bogus Ebola Cures. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/16/world ... .html?_r=0


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