Nation & World Briefs 08-13-14 UN: Okay to use untested Ebola drugs in outbreak

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MADRID -- The World Health Organization declared it's ethical to use untested drugs and vaccines in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, although the tiny supply of one experimental treatment has been depleted and it could be many months until more is available.

The last of the drug is on its way to Liberia for two stricken doctors, according to a U.K.-based public relations firm representing Liberia. The U.S. company that makes it said the supply is now "exhausted." Later Tuesday, Canada said it would provide some of its experimental Ebola vaccine for use in West Africa.

Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, who contracted Ebola in Liberia, has died in a Madrid hospital, medical sources said on Tuesday, as the outbreak spreads through West Africa. Pajares, 75, was the first Ebola patient to die in Europe. He had been evacuated from Liberia to Spain last week to receive treatment.

He was the third person to receive the experimental treatment called ZMapp.

Two U.S. aid workers who received it in recent weeks are said to be improving.

The outbreak, the biggest in history, has killed more than 1,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

There is no proven treatment or vaccine for Ebola; several are in early stages of development. ZMapp, made by Mapp Pharmaceuticals, is so new that it has never been tested in humans, although an early version worked in some monkeys infected with Ebola. It's aimed at boosting the immune system's efforts to fight off Ebola.

Won't release officer's name: Rev. Al Sharpton pressed police Tuesday to release the name of the officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in suburban St. Louis, and he pleaded for calm after two nights of violent protests over the young man's death. Police said death threats prompted them to withhold the name of the officer, who was placed on administrative leave after fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, where the incident has stoked racial tension, rallies and a night of looting. Investigators have released few details, saying only that a scuffle unfolded after the officer asked Brown and another teen to get out of the street. At some point, the officer's weapon fired inside a patrol car, police said.

Must resolve questions: Hundreds of thousands of people who signed up under the new health care law risk losing their taxpayer-subsidized insurance unless they act quickly to resolve questions about their citizenship or immigration status. The government warned on Tuesday that they have just over three weeks to show that they're eligible. Of the eight million people who signed up for private coverage through President Barack Obama's law, more than two million at one point had discrepancies of some sort that clouded their eligibility. That number has been greatly reduced -- but the remaining cases are proving difficult to untangle.

Deficit running on low course: The federal government ran a lower deficit this July than a year ago, keeping it on course to record the lowest deficit in six years. The July deficit was $94.6 billion, an improvement of 3.1 percent from a year ago, the Treasury Department reported Tuesday in its monthly budget statement. For the first 10 months of this budget year, the deficit totals $460.5 billion, down 24.2 percent from the same period a year ago. The Congressional Budget Office expects this year's deficit to total around $500 billion, down from $680.2 billion last year. That would be the lowest deficit since an imbalance of $458.6 billion in 2008, which was a record at the time. The Great Recession and efforts to deal with the financial crisis sent deficits above $1 trillion for four straight years.

More troops to Iraq: Another 130 U.S. troops arrived in Iraq on Tuesday on what the Pentagon described as a temporary mission to assess the scope of the humanitarian crisis facing thousands of displaced Iraqi civilians trapped on Sinjar Mountain. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deployment in remarks to Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif. "This is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation," Hagel said. "We're not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in Iraq."

Egypt presents proposal: Egypt presented a proposed cease-fire to Israel and Hamas aimed at ending the monthlong war, Palestinian officials said early today after negotiators huddled for a second day of Egyptian-mediated talks meant to resolve the crisis and bring relief to the embattled Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials told Associated Press early this morning that Egypt's proposal calls for easing parts of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, bringing some relief to the territory. But it leaves the key areas of disagreement, including the Islamic militant group Hamas' demand for a full lifting of the blockade and Israeli calls for Hamas to disarm, to later negotiations.

Foreign tourism to Mexico grows: Mexico's central bank said the country's international tourism grew 19.6 percent in the first six months of 2014, compared to the same period last year. The Bank of Mexico said in a statement Tuesday that 14.2 million foreigners visited Mexico between January and June and spent $8.4 billion. International tourism to Mexico declined after drug cartel violence increased. A number of cruise operators dropped port calls and the number of visitors to northern border cities plunged.

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