Obama dismisses idea of sending experimental Ebola drugs to Africa

U.S. President Barack Obama says it’s “premature” to send an experimental drug for the treatment of Ebola to West Africa, as Liberia declared a state of emergency amid an outbreak that shows no signs of slowing. Obama said on Wednesday that he lacked enough information to green light a promising medicine called ZMapp that was already used on two American aid workers who saw their conditions improve by varying degrees. There is currently no known cure for Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever that has overwhelmed rudimentary health care systems and prompted the deployment of troops to quarantine the worst-hit areas in the remote border region of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Ebola virus, both currently and in the past, is controllable if you have a strong public health infrastructure in place.

U.S. President Barack Obama

International alarm at the diffusion of the virus increased when a U.S. citizen died in Nigeria last month after flying there from Liberia. Authorities said on Wednesday that a Nigerian nurse who had treated the man had also died of Ebola. Five other people are being treated in an isolation ward in Lagos, Africa’s largest city. Health workers across West Africa appealed on Wednesday for urgent help in controlling the world’s worst-ever outbreak as the death toll climbed to 932 and Liberia declared the state of emergency. Liberia also shut a major hospital where several staff were infected, including a Spanish priest.

The government and people of Liberia require extraordinary measures for the very survival of our state and for the protection of the lives of our people.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf