Anti-Ebola: FG awaits US response on anti-Ebola experimental drug

THE Federal Government of Nigeria is still waiting for the response of the Government of the United States on the request for the Zmapp experimental drug to treat the Ebola cases in the country, The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said this on Thursday

Chukwu had told journalists on Wednesday that the Federal Government had requested for the drug from the US to treat those infected with the deadly virus.

The Minister also said that he had not received any response from the US turning down the request of the Federal Government for the release of the drug which has been used to treat two infected American medical practitioners.

The Minister made this comment while speaking to journalists shortly after commissioning the Defence Identification Centre at the Mogadishu Cantonment Abuja.

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The Minister said that he was optimistic that the US would respond to the request of the Federal Government on the Ebola emergency.

He explained that the seeming delay in the response of the US might be as a result of issues relating to the production and supply of the drugs.

He stated also that the data of the drugs were still being collected now that it had been used on human beings.

Chukwu added that for now, nobody was sure of the efficacy of the drug and whether the side effects of the drugs would outweigh its benefits or not.

He said, “Well, we are waiting for a response from them, we have made the request but of course, we believe that they will respond to us.

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“But we also know that; one, this is an experimental drug, some of the data required is now being collected because they are now using it on people.

“We are not completely sure yet of its efficacy; we are not yet completely sure if the side effects would outweigh its benefits, and then second, it if it is an experimental drug, it means it has not been produced in commercial quantities.

“So obviously, given the demand all over the world, may be, they are having challenges about the supply, we await their formal response.

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“Well, I don’t know if some others made the request but the Ministry of Health made the request, and no such reply has been given to the ministry.”

He saidChukwu who commended the military for the establishment of the first Defence Identification Centre in Sub Saharan Africa, which he sad, was in consonance with best practices in combat casualty identification.