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article imageNorway’s Ebola victim to get world’s last dose of possible cure

By Martin Laine     Oct 8, 2014 in World
A Norwegian health worker from Sierra Leone, who was diagnosed with Ebola Monday and flown to Oslo Tuesday, will be given the world’s last remaining dose of ZMAPP, a drug being tested as a possible cure for the deadly virus.
With only one dose of the medicine remaining, and months before any more will be available, and at least two other Ebola patients being treated outside of West Africa, and thousands of others in the “Hot Zone,” how the decision of who should receive it was made and who made it, is sure to be a subject of debate.
“It must be said that it is lucky that Norway will get the last dose of ZMAPP. There are no more doses in the world and it takes a long time to produce,” said Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, which must approve all medications used in Norway, in an article in The Local.
Even though ZMAPP is still experimental and has not yet been approved, its use in this case has been authorized.
”When here are patients with an acute need of medicine,” Madsen said. “We allow import of medicines that are not approved.”
Avigan and TKM-Ebola, two other experimental drugs are also being brought into Norway. While all three drugs have shown some promise, none of them have been proven to be a reliable cure.
The woman, whose name and age have not been given, had been working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) in Sierra Leone. She fell ill over the weekend, and placed in isolation on Sunday, according to The Local. Her tests proved positive for Ebola on Monday, and she was flown to Oslo in a specially-adapted private jet to ensure that no one else would become infected.
She is currently being treated at the Oslo University Hospital.
“We have the competence, the facilities, the isolation room and equipment. We will take care of the patient and our staff in the best possible way and have competent dedicated procedures in relation to the Ebola virus,” said hospital spokeswoman Catherine Lofthus.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg sought to reassure the public.
“The reason this disease spreads so quickly throughout West Africa is because there are countries without infrastructure and without good health services. Here in Norway we can handle this quickly,” she said.
More about Ebola, zmapp, Doctors without borders
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