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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ebola ! read why there is no drug yet

Ebola virus: Britain's top doctor accuses drug firms of dragging their heels in finding vaccine

    Professor John Ashton said the pharmaceutical industry was being slow because it had only affected Africa and not the Western world

Professor John Ashton, Regional Director of Public Health at a press conference at Furness General Hospital to discuss Legionnaire's Disease

Britain's top public health doctor has accused drugs firms of 'moral bankruptcy' for dragging their heels over finding a vaccine against Ebola.
Professor John Ashton, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said the pharmaceutical industry had failed to research the disease properly because so far it has only affected Africa.
And he urged the West to treat Ebola as if it was taking hold in the swankiest parts of London rather than Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
He said: “We must respond to this emergency as if it was in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster.
“We must also tackle the scandal of the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in research on treatments and vaccines, something they refuse to do because the numbers involved are, in their terms, so small and don’t justify the investment.
“This is the moral bankruptcy of capitalism acting in the absence of a moral and social framework.”
The World Health Organisation says the Ebola outbreak has so far claimed the lives of at least 729 people across West Africa, although the toll is likely to rise.
Professor Ashton compared drugs firms’ response to Ebola to that of the AIDS epidemic, which killed people in Africa for years before treatments were developed once it spread to the West in the 1980s and 90s.

Prof Ashton said: “In both cases it seems that the involvement of powerless minority groups has contributed to a tardiness of response and a failure to mobilise and adequately resourced international medical response.
“In the case of AIDS, it took years for proper research funding to be put in place and it was only when so-called ‘innocent’ groups were involved - women and children, haemophiliac patients and straight men - that the media, politicians, scientific community and funding bodies stood up and took notice.”
Development of a vaccine is in the early stages in America but research is only on a small scale and there is little hope of a vaccine being ready to tackle the current outbreak in West Africa.
The US Department of Health and Human Services says it has plans to start testing an experimental Ebola vaccine on people in mid-September following encouraging results in pre-clinical trials on monkeys.
However, the US Food and Drug Administration has put a stop on Ebola treatment trials on healthy volunteers by the Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation to ensure there are no ill effects.
Prof Ashton said: “The real spotlight needs to be on the poverty and environmental squalor in which epidemics thrive and the failure of political leadership and public health systems to respond effectively.
“The international community has to be shamed into real commitment if the root causes of diseases like Ebola are to be addressed.”