.The not-so-experimental ethics of Ebola

Why treating two infected missionaries in Atlanta does not devalue African lives

August 13, 2014 6:00AM ET

by Susan Dwyer

Susan Dwyer Writes

The 12-year-old serious communicable disease unit at Emory University Hospital hadn’t gotten much attention until last week, when it began treating two Americans infected with the Ebola virus with an experimental monoclonal antibody called ZMapp. No comparable facilities exist in any of the four West African countries that are experiencing the largest known outbreak of Ebola, and ZMapp and the handful of other Ebola drugs in development are unavailable in those countries. What’s more, very little ZMapp is available at all. On Tuesday morning Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, the company that makes the drug, said on its website that its supply has been exhausted.

The Pneumatike Economist replies

Your style and approach to this issue proves how devoted and serious you are with your profession. That explains why you were so professional but every defense you advanced was very much separated from your heart though very well connected with your eyes. If it came so far, then it came from your head. When issues are matters of the heart, people move mountains to create pathways

 Susan Dwyer Writes

Much has been made of the ethical and moral considerations of treating some but not all Ebola patients with these experimental drugs. Some commentators contended that it was racist to treat white Americans and not black West Africans. On the subject of administering experimental drugs whose effectiveness is not fully proven, the World Health Organization issued a statement on Monday saying that it had convened a group of consultants to evaluate the situation and that they concluded that it was ethical “to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention.”

The Pneumatike Economist replies

I bet you that the testing of this drug on animals wasn’t in 2014. Was it not urgent enough to convene such a meeting before thousands of souls are lost? They gave a pathway for such contentions and so be it! Such an attitude clearly demonstrates a consideration of very little importance to the now EBOLA suffering regions.


 Susan Dwyer Writes

Deadly and rare

One point to remember about Ebola is that it is utterly deadly but remains very rare.

The Pneumatike Economist replies

It doesn’t change the fact that it is deadly and was still in existence! Everything should have been concluded when time was not yet a factor and contingency plans made for multiplication in the case of an outbreak.   I trust the US intelligence on this anyway! I shouldn’t  comment any further!

 Susan Dwyer Writes

Since its identification in 1976 by the Belgian scientist Peter Piot, Ebola has claimed approximately 2,500 lives — almost half of those in the current outbreak. Malaria, acute respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases kill many millions of people each year. There is so little financial incentive to develop vaccines or cures for rare infectious diseases that the research leading to ZMapp was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense under the aegis of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which, among its myriad tasks, works to minimize the danger from bioweapons. This differential allocation of research resources might be unfortunate, but it is not morally wrong because the disease affects far fewer people than other comparably serious illnesses.

The Pneumatike Economist replies

Are you trying to underestimate the importance of a soul in monetary terms? Howmuch funding is done every year for non-value adding activities? The fact that millions die from Malaria doesn’t mean a soul should be neglected from Ebola .   The Fact that millions die in West Africa doesn’t mean a soul should be neglected in the USA. This was the message!

  Susan Dwyer Writes

It is true that the nearly 1,000 people who have died during this outbreak have been black Africans, while Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly, the two Americans receiving treatment, are white health care workers who were transported from Liberia to the U.S. at considerable expense. Despite what some critics charge, the race and occupation of Writebol and Brantly are ethical red herrings, not ethical red flags. A large quantity of a safe and effective Ebola drug preferentially withheld from black African nonprofessionals would constitute a grave injustice, but that is not what has happened, because there is simply not much of anything to be withheld. Writebol and Brantly have clearly benefited from being Americans employed by a Christian charity with a proactive vice president of program and government relations. But their treatment in Atlanta is not tantamount to the devaluing of Africans’ lives.

The Pneumatike Economist replies

IS THE PROACTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAM AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS FAR BETTER THAN ANY OTHER BIG LEADING HEAD IN THE WORLD? Then what was he waiting for to propose to others? What are the developement concerns of his organisation? Your statement is a great controversy!!!  Ask him these questions for me! And tell him many have died save for his two workers.

 If I continue with your argument Susan Dwyer,  I will go crazy. You speak a lot with your mouth and write with your pen.

Move with your family to Liberia and continue to make your stories from there. I am sure you will make a better story!

If we all can be void of ourselves and distribute our contents to fill others, then we may have the right mind to speak for them


The Pneumatike Economist


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