Japan Offers Potential Ebola Treatment as Outbreak Continues

Efforts to combat the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa have gone global as Japan recently announced efforts to provide medical assistance to the cause.

Efforts to combat the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa have gone global as Japan recently announced efforts to provide medical assistance to the cause.

A story from Reuters said a drug known as T-705 (faxipiravir) has gained some attention as a possible treatment for Ebola. While it has not been approved for treatment of the virus, and has been used mostly as an influenza drug, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it could be an option in this medical crisis.

“I am informed that medical professionals could make a request for T-705 in an emergency even before a decision (on approval) by the WHO. In that case, we would like to respond under certain criteria,” he told Reuters.

The news from Japan comes amid reports from CNN and other news outlets that a new strain of Ebola has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that one problem facing recovery efforts in Africa is the fact that many people treating patients have become patients themselves. The most recent data shows that 240 health care workers have been infected in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, with more than half the cases ending in death.

“Several factors help explain the high proportion of infected medical staff,” a press release from the WHO said. “These factors include shortages of personal protective equipment or its improper use, far too few medical staff for such a large outbreak, and the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe.”