Health Minister Oneybuchi Chukwu confirmed that an experimental drug for the treatment of Ebola has been sent by a Nigerian in diaspora and will be arriving on Thursday in the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the drug called “Nanosilver” in the case of the current Ebola outbreak. As such, the drug can now be used in spite of it still being experimental, since the WHO has deemed experimental treatments ethical when they address the Ebola pandemic that has been wreaking havoc in western Africa.
Chukwu has also noted that the nurse who had been in Lagos for observation and had fled to Enugu is now back in Lagos.
Because of the grave situation in Nigeria, the government authorized the use of experimental drugs in an attempt to counteract the Ebola outbreak. ZMapp has already been sent from the US to Liberia on Wednesday, and Canada also donated 1,000 vaccines meant to reach affected countries.
The primary contacts of confirmed Ebola cases are still under observation, but Chukwu disclosed that some of them had already crossed the 21 day incubation period and that they had to be allowed to leave. He also added that the nurse who was also a primary contact to Patrick Sawyer hadn’t developed any symptoms and as such, she couldn’t have infected other people.
Chukwu insisted to note that only Lagos state has recorded cases of Ebola.
The Nigerian Medical Association has instructed Nigerian doctors to actively involve themselves in providing professional expertise so that the situation could be controlled as soon as possible. Additionally, the NMA urged the Nigerian government to make sure that doctors and healthcare workers are provided with the correct Personal Protective Equipment so as to reduce the risks that healthcare providers face.
They also suggested that Ebola control committees are set up, in collaboration with State Health Ministers, NGO’s and volunteer teams, to effectively combat the Ebola outbreak.
This Ebola outbreak has already claimed the lives of 1,069 people from Western Africa, while 1,975 more people are battling with the disease.
Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Ngafuan, carried the experimental drug ZMapp on Wednesday from the USA on a commercial flight and unloaded it at the VIP terminal.
The doses of ZMapp will be administered to Liberian doctors in the capital who were infected with the virus while attending to patients.
What the WHO now faces is the ethical question of deciding how to administer the 10-12 available doses and who should receive the drug.