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article imageFDA approves new Ebola drug

By Tim Sandle     Sep 27, 2014 in Science
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given permission for an experimental short interfering RNA treatment against Ebola to be used in field.
TKM-Ebola is a short interfering RNA (siRNA) therapy to treat Ebola infection. However, due to the worrying statistics about the disease, the FDA has given permission for the drug to be deployed for “compassionate use." The decision has come via Tekmira Pharmaceutical, the drug’s manufacturer. Permission has also been granted by Health Canada.
Following the announcement, Tekmira has provided the medication to several Ebola patients. The company states that “the repeat infusions have been well tolerated." The company also adds: “However, it must be kept in mind that any uses of the product under expanded access, does not constitute controlled clinical trials.”
USA Today have reported that one of the patients who has taken TKM-Ebola is Richard Sacra, a US physician who became infected in Liberia and is now being treated in Nebraska.
The company are confident that the drug will be successful. As Forbes points out, successful administration of TKM-Ebola in monkeys saved the animals from a strain of the virus that circulated in 1995. One problem is, Tekmira has very little of the drug available to distribute. Another anti-Ebola drug — ZMapp — has been produced by Mapp Biopharmaceutical. However, this too is beset by low supply issues.
This news comes in the wake of a dire warning from the United Nations about the risk of Ebola to global security.
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