Specialists are debating calls to employ developmental medicines against an Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa, the Canadian Press reports.
A number of analysts said distributing vaccines or drug treatments that are not fully tested may boost local distrust of officials that have been fighting the spread of Ebola hemorrhagic fever since March, the news agency reported on Wednesday. No fully vetted medicines currently exist for the disease, which as of Tuesday may have killed more than 500 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
According to some opponents of using such medicines, any adverse side effects may threaten years of efforts to develop the drugs as a defense against the potential biological-weapon agent.
“It would be unethical to roll [developmental medicines] out now, in my opinion,” said David Heymann, a former World Health Organization assistant director general.
Officials could instead move, once the current threat subsides, to lay the groundwork for using such treatments to combat future outbreaks, Heymann argued. The World Health Organization could make such policy preparations in collaboration with drug developers and regional governments, he said.
One expert, though, pressed for immediately using Ebola countermeasures now in a late stage of development.
“Imagine if you take a region of Canada, America, Europe and you had 450 people dying of a viral hemorrhagic fever. It would just be unacceptable — and it’s unacceptable in West Africa,” said Jeremy Farrar, a tropical medicine and global health specialist at Oxford University.
What We're Following See More »
In light of his recent confessions, the speakership of Dennis Hastert is being judged far more harshly. The New York Times' Carl Hulse notes that in hindsight, Hastert now "fares poorly" on a number of fronts, from his handling of the Mark Foley page scandal to "an explosion" of earmarks to the weakening of committee chairmen. "Even his namesake Hastert rule—the informal standard that no legislation should be brought to a vote without the support of a majority of the majority — has come to be seen as a structural barrier to compromise."
Even if "[t]he Republican presidential nomination may be in his sights ... Trump has so far ignored vital preparations needed for a quick and effective transition to the general election. The New York businessman has collected little information about tens of millions of voters he needs to turn out in the fall. He's sent few people to battleground states compared with likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, accumulated little if any research on her, and taken no steps to build a network capable of raising the roughly $1 billion needed to run a modern-day general election campaign."
Rep. Dave Young can't even refuse his own paycheck. The Iowa Republican is trying to make a point that if Congress can't pass a budget (it's already missed the April 15 deadline) then it shouldn't be paid. But, he's been informed, the 27th Amendment prohibits him from refusing his own pay. "Young’s efforts to dock his own pay, however, are duck soup compared to his larger goal: docking the pay of every lawmaker when Congress drops the budget ball." His bill to stiff his colleagues has only mustered the support of three of them. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), has about three dozen co-sponsors.
Sixty miles away, in Sandusky, Ohio. "We're pretty bitter about that," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party. "It sucks to be California, we're like the ugly stepchild. They need us for our cash and our donors, they don't need us for anything else."
Anyone looking forward to seeing some boldfaced names on the client list of the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," will have to wait a little longer. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not intervene to allow" the release of her phone records, "despite one of her former attorneys claiming the records are “very relevant” to the presidential election. Though he has repeatedly threatened to release the records if courts do not modify a 2007 restraining order, Montgomery Blair Sibley tells U.S. News he’s not quite sure what he now will do."