Ebola Is a Conspiracy to Cull Africans? ZMapp Only Used on White Americans?
Sure, conspiracy theories often sound wild. They sound of desperation, of fear, of panic, and so it fits that the current African scourge of Ebola meets the criteria of conspiracy theories. Adding to that, ZMapp, an experimental drug from a small California firm, seems to have helped cure two white American missionaries but has been denied for treatment of black African patients.
Even President Obama has weighed in on the drug dispensing discrepancy, declaring that he will “stick with science” and not offer a drug to Africans that is still in experimental stages.
Notice that Obama doesn’t offer the science for why the ZMapp drug supposedly worked for the two Americans and why it shouldn’t be given to people in Africa should it be paid for by African officials. Perhaps it is too costly for African governments whose infrastructure in its health care sector have “collapsed” as the Liberian government stated.
Regardless of the explanation for why Americans could get an experimental drug and Africans can not, people have begun to invent their own reasons, namely conspiracy theories. Why not? Apparently the outbreak has been traced, in its infancy, to a 2-year old infant. Reuters claims that the virus is transmitted by animals. How that transmission occurred with said 2-year old has not been disclosed.
Add to this list of treated with ZMapp, now a priest from Spain. It’s too early to find out how his condition is progression. I read an argument that the African population can not be allowed to give consent if they are so ill that they don’t know the medication they are ingesting; however, none of those treated with ZMapp thus far have been only mildly ill–they have been deathly ill and so maybe couldn’t have given consent.
Should the small pharmaceutical firm that developed ZMapp be required to give it away? It is a monoclonal antibody serum, and it was produced in small quantities, after giving it only to monkeys before the missionaries. If it looked like the United States was accused of experimenting on Africans infected with Ebola by giving them the serum, would possible lives saved outweigh the international costs of giving experimental drugs to people for whom the disease has ravaged but no clinical trials proved its safety?
African officials have, in fact, requested to try ZMapp on those sickened in Africa, but were denied reportedly due to lack of drug dosages manufactured:
The health minister of Nigeria had asked the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for access to ZMapp, a serum made by San Diego-based company Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the world’s leading immunologists and the director of the US National Institutes of Health, added that, according to the manufacturer, it would take two to three months to produce even “a modest amount” of the drug.
A cynic might claim that the manufacturing company stands to make lots of money should it be able to produce more the ZMapp drug. The WHO is scheduling a meeting with medical ethics panels next week to determine the best manner of dispensing medications.