Sierra Leone Current Affairs - 2020

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WHO approves use of experimental drug ZMapp against Ebola Virus

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved the use of drug ZMapp to combat Ebola spread as the death count surged.

The WHO decision comes after a US firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical supplied ZMapp to treat two US health workers who contracted the Ebola virus while treating Ebola affected patients in Liberia. The drug has shown some positive effects in saving the lives of Ebola-infected people.

The WHO has decided that the experimental drugs should be used with all transparency including aspects of care, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for the person and preservation of dignity. Doctors would not administer ZMapp without consent of the patients.


The current outbreak of Ebola is seen as the most terrible since the discovery of Ebola Virus. At present, there is no cure for Ebola. Recently, Mapp Biopharmaceutical offered the drug ZMapp to two US doctors who got affected with the Ebola disease.

The drug uses a novel method of passive immunization to treat Ebola disease by inserting genetically altered Ebola protein into tobacco leaves. However, it has been tested only on monkeys so far and it was to be tested on human volunteers in 2015. The abrupt outbreak of Ebola hastened the development.

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Ebola is a Public Health Emergency: WHO

The emergency committee of the World Health Organization has unanimously agreed to proclaim the Ebola virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

As per the UN body, the possible outcomes of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the mortality rate linked with the disease, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the fragile health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.

As per WHO, the current Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013 and has since spread to Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. As of August 4, 2014, 1,711 cases of the infection have been reported and over 1,000 of which have been confirmed, and 932 deaths due to the virus have occurred.

The WHO also released a list of recommendations for governments in affected nations. Among other things, the organization suggested temporary bans on “mass gatherings” and exit screenings at airports to examine people leaving countries hit by the virus.

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