There is a current regional epidemic of viral hemorrhagic fever due to Ebola ravaging the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea in West Africa. In addition to the devastating human impact on civilians and healthcare workers the economic impact on these countries is estimated to be in the billions of US dollars. This is due to the fact that in Sierra Leone in particular the main agriculture producing region is the epicenter of the disease in that country. Orphaned families are unable to harvest crops and deliver them to markets for export.
Viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola virus currently does not have an approved cure or vaccine. However there are several vaccines and drugs in the developmental stage. One of the most promising is TKM-Ebola manufactured by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: TKMR). This drug has been shown to be highly effective in killing the virus in primates and Phase 1 clinical trials to assess its safety in humans were started earlier this year. In July this year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America placed a hold on this trial despite the fact that 14 research participants had already safely tolerated the drug.
Given that at least one patient has transferred the disease from Liberia to Nigeria by air travel, the possibility of a global pandemic becomes increasingly likely. In view of this it is imperative that the development of these drugs be fast tracked by the FDA and the first step should be releasing the hold on TKM-Ebola. There is a precedent for fast tracking anti-Ebola drugs in emergency cases as happened last year when a researcher was exposed to the virus and received an experimental vaccine.
Please sign this petition to accelerate development of TKM-Ebola and other anti-Ebola drugs and vaccines by the FDA
Update 8/6/14. I am also requesting that the FDA fast track clinical trials of Zmapp developed by Mapp Biopharmaceuticals. This experimental drug was used in the American aid workers and should undergo clinical trials to determine whether it can benefit the rest of the world.