For our first topic of the year, we want to look at one of the major events of the summer: the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. While there are many aspects to consider, we'd like to look at the ethical questions related to the use of experimental drugs in handling outbreaks.
The drug ZMapp has proven effective in helping treat Ebola when tested on monkeys. However, supplies are limited and, prior to the outbreak, it had not been tested on humans. In this case and others like it, we must ask:
- Should the drug be administered to those infected with the disease despite the lack of extensive testing?
Can we trust potential recipients to make rational decisions regarding the risks and benefits of receiving the drugs?
If we chose to administer the drug, to whom should we provide it?
We hope you'll join us to discuss some of these questions. We encourage you to read up on the subject as best you can so that our conversation can be well informed. To this end, please have a look at the following articles in addition to any others you find interesting:
- Opting Against Ebola Drug for Ill African Doctor - looks at a case where a doctor leading the efforts to stop the outbreak became infected and the treatment team had to decide whether to use ZMapp. Read the article to learn about the decision made and its outcome.
- The Ethics of the Ebola Outbreak: Who Should Receive Experimental Treatment? - looks at the ethical dilemma of deciding how to distribute the limited amount of the drug available.