Monday, November 3, 2014

Ebola Clinical Trials: Why now is the time to conduct them properly

In a recent column at Nature Magazine, David L Heymann, who has worked with Ebola outbreaks in Africa, shares his perspective on why now is the time to act to prevent this disastrous disease from spreading in the future.  Our current efforts should focus on curbing the outbreak and figuring out how to treat this deadly disease.  This should double with efforts to figure out how the diesase works and how to better preventing it from spreading in the future.

By combining potential treatments that western countries have developed over the past few years with education on prevention, Heymann shares some of the ways we can prevent spreading in the future and possible outbreaks.

How can outbreaks be curbed in the future?
  • - Community knowledge to prevent transmission in the future
  • - Safe transport for those potentially affected to a proper isolation place 
  • - Education on symptoms for prevention in rural areas to prevent spreading of the disease to densely populated areas
This past August, the WHO came to a consensus that conducting clinical trials in the affected areas would be ethical.  This is the only time that clinical trials can be conducted, however, setting them up in systems where hospital protocol are already reeling will prove to be difficult.  It is still up for debate as to whether the clinical trials will be randomized or if they would have widespread use due to the dire situation.  

Do you think that clinical trials during this outbreak should be randomized?  Or should they be conducted by working with those who need the treatments should receive them?

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