FDA Seeks Feedback on Testing Drugs for Deadly Infections

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has opened a public docket to gather information on how to test experimental treatments for emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola. The docket was opened for suggestions on how to test medicines specifically designed to fight these infections when outbreaks pose such special hurdles to designing studies and recruiting patients. Other deadly infections to be targeted include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. In the case of Ebola, researchers have faced the question of whether it is ethical to use placebos in order to compare the effectiveness of an experimental drug. It was also difficult to gather enough patients to test the experimental Ebola drug known as ZMapp due to the waning of the outbreak in Liberia, where the formal study was started. The FDA will accept submissions to the docket through January 28. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, the site of the original Ebola transmission. The outbreak ultimately killed more than 11,000 people, according to WHO.

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