"Two American missionary workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus were given an experimental drug (called ZMapp) that seems to have saved their lives. […] As there is no proven treatment and no vaccine for Ebola, this experimental drug is raising lots of questions."

Article on +CNN: http://ow.ly/zWt80

Questions about this new Ebola drug
Two Americans infected with Ebola are improving after receiving an experimental drug called ZMapp. Will others get it, too?

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  • Very exciting! I hope we can get this drug to everyone with this disease and quickly. 

  • Maybe this is hype to keep us from pushing the panic button.  Don't believe everything you read or hear.

  • Well the sample size (8 monkeys in pre-clinical testing and now 2 humans out of circumstance) is way too small to draw any conclusions just yet. No guarantee others will get it since we do not know how it worked exactly and if it will work in others. And also no word on side effects or counter-indications of use.

    To drive the point home, this is one of the telling parts of the article:

    "Did doctors know it would work?

    No. The drug had shown promise in primates, but even in those experiments, just eight monkeys received the treatment. In any case, the human immune system can react differently than primates', which is why drugs are required to undergo human clinical trials before being approved by government agencies for widespread use.

    The two Americans' cases will be studied further to determine how the drug worked with their immune systems."

    So the numbers are way too small from a medical (research) standpoint to give a solid conclusion (and you will notice that is what any of the experts cited in the article say as well). No one denies these a promising results, but too soon to say we have a go-to treatment for Ebola.

    Either more clinical research work will be done (which will include data from the two current human patients), to further evaluate the good and bad effects of the drug, or circumstances could force more widespread use of the drug, which then ends up becoming a clinical trial of sorts.