Ebola : US warns against drug cure claims

Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu

The United States Food and Drug Administration, US FDA on Thursday warned against claims of Ebola drugs by scientists and drug manufacturers.

The agency in a statement advised consumers to beware of products sold online, claiming to prevent or cure the deadly Ebola Disease.

The US FDA said it has received complaints that some products can either cure or prevent the virus disease.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers to be aware of products sold online claiming to prevent or treat the Ebola virus. Since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, the FDA has seen and received consumer complaints about a variety of products claiming to either prevent the Ebola virus or treat the infection,”the agency said.

Although, the US FDA was not specific about the drug being claimed to cure the disease in its warning, the agency’s warning came after Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, told journalists in Abuja that a Nigerian scientist had promised to provide a drug, Nanosilver.

Mr. Chukwu said the drug could be used in the treatment of Ebola disease on Nigerian patients once approved by a technical committee.

The agency also reiterated that there was no approved drugs or vaccine for the treatment or prevention of the viral disease.

The FDA statement however noted that experimental drugs and vaccines were under development and investigation.

These drugs, the agency said, are not fully tested for safety, effectiveness or even consumption.

It said these drugs are also in very limited supply.

“There are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products specifically for Ebola available for purchase on the Internet. By law, dietary supplements cannot claim to prevent or cure disease,” it said.

While stating that it monitors these fraudulent drugs, the US FDA warned individuals promoting these unapproved products to take immediate action to correct or remove their claims or face potential action by the agency.

The US FDA also asked consumers who have seen these fraudulent products or false claims to report them.

The deadly Ebola Disease caused by Ebola virus was imported into Nigeria by a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer. He died on July 24 at First Consultant Hospital, Obalende, Lagos.

Since its importation, Nigeria, according to the health ministry, has recorded 10 cases of the disease out of which four people have died; six persons have been quarantined while 169 others are under surveillance.

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