FrontPageAfrica has learned that at least 30 Liberians infected with the deadly Ebola virus could benefit from an unknown trial Ebola drug said to be on its way to Liberia from Italy.
Dr. Alessandro Manini, President of the International Emergency Management Organization (IEMO) whose organization is dispatching the trial drug upon the request of Health & Social Welfare Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale, in a letter dated August 18, 2014, to the Liberian Ambassador to Italy, Ambassador Mohammed Sheriff, obtained by FrontPageAfrica, reveals that the package has been sent by EMS. The letter does not state the name of the drug and FrontPageAfrica has been unable to determine whether the organization has been successful with a trial drug of this magnitude in the past.
The IEMO is an international body having its provisional head office in Italy and was established through the Intergovernmental Convention on food micro-algae, university research and emergency prevention, first ratified by Benin, Madagascar and Somalia. Dr. Manini, according to the IEMO website, supervises and coordinates the activities of the Organization and, in coordination with the Chairman of the IEMO Council, directs the various areas of competence, relevant to the fulfillment of the Organizational's Mandate (work for natural and man-made emergency prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response).
The expressed Post EMS Package of 3 kg has been sent to Minister Gwenigale per your urgent request and appeal for Ebola treatment. It will arrive in Monrovia in 5 working days. Included are the sufficient dose amount for 30 people/patients (5 people per bottle) according to the relevant annexed Protocol. I have also doubled the expedition to your Embassy and put the photocopy of the envelope and a copy of the Note to the Minister for your perusal, together with 4 four) treatments for Ebola (2 of 0°UB and 2 of 25000° UB) and the relevant Protocol, just in case that the envelope for Monrovia should not arrive in time."
Dr. Manini has meanwhile, warned authorities in Liberia not to temper with the package because of the sensitive nature of the drug. "Please inform Dr. Gwenigale to alert the postal customs in Liberia so that they can be on the lookout for the arrival in Liberia of the Postal package so that they cannot tamper with it or not to stop it, but immediately delivered to the Ministry of Health, without delay. It is very urgent and they should do all to have it urgently delivered to the Minister if Health, Dr Gwenigale. We hope to have rendered service to Liberia to save so many lives with this deadly disease.
Dr. Manini has not responded to an email inquiry from FrontPageAfrica seeking more details on the drug or its name. But the World Health Organization, last week gave the green light for people infected in the West African Ebola outbreak to be offered approved untested drugs, although the scarcity of supplies has raised questions about who gets priority access to treatment.
Late last week, Liberia treated three infected doctors with an unproven Ebola medicine called ZMapp, becoming the first Africans to receive the drug, which has been given to a Spanish priest who later died and two U.S. aid workers. The three doctors, Abraham Borbor from Liberia and Dr. Aroh Cosmos Izchukwu, a Nigerian and a Ugandan doctor from JFK- are said to be showing remarkable signs of improvement in beating the virus that he killed 1,229 people since it surfaced in February. Dr. Zukunis Ireland, who was one of those initially reported to have received the Zmapp did not but has been discharged.
It is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external hemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can cause organ failure. The outbreak began in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. ZMapp is manufactured by a U.S. Biotech company Mapp Biopharmaceutical. WHO said only around 10 to 12 doses of the drug have been made. Canada has also pledged to donate 800 to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine developed in its government lab to the WHO for use in West Africa.
Other drug makers are also moving ahead with possible solutions in hopes of finding the right formula that works. GlaxoSmithKline and U.S. Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases hope to start a clinical trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine as soon as next month, after promising test results in primates.
Another experimental vaccine from Johnson & Johnson's Crucell unit should enter Phase I clinical trials in late 2015 or early 2016, while Profectus Biosciences is also working with U.S. Scientists on another preclinical vaccine. The outbreak is the world's largest and deadliest and the U.N. agency last week declared it an international health emergency. The WHO has appealed for funds and medical staff to supplement health care in one of the poorest regions in the world.