The Politics of Ebola

While I remain confident that I won’t die from Ebola, there is no shortage of scared Americans. I guess this story reminds them of so many outbreak movies that don’t go so well. But, in the real world, there are reasons for optimism. The two Americans who contracted the virus are improving rapidly, thanks to the use of an experimental Ebola drug made by a company based in San Diego.

Because it’s just those two, the two Americans, who have been given the drug there have been waves of criticism being thrown at all Americans involved. After all, why are the hundreds of Africans affected not being offered the drug? Aside from the fact that this story is moving very quickly and all the patients may be offered the drug in the near future. No one should have been offered this drug by American health standards.

I don’t know all the specifics on the drug, but I do know that it wasn’t approved for human testing, and wasn’t even close. So the fact that anyone could benefit from this drug is pretty amazing. (The patients must have been forced to sign something that says it’s their fault if they die.) And while the patients who took the drug are improving rapidly, that doesn’t mean things are going to work out. Since this drug hasn’t been tested on humans, for all we know they’ll drop dead with heart trouble or some other physical malady. In that case, patients would be better off not taking the drug, leaving the Africans in the more enviable position. While some would like to make this a rich/poor or black/white issue, can we please let the story play out? Break.

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