PH ready to manage possible Ebola patients

Posted at 08/23/14 5:15 PM

MANILA - It will take more time before ZMapp or any experimental drug or vaccine against Ebola can be made available to the public.

Dr. Rose Capeding of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) said developing a cure or vaccine for Ebola involves a long process.

Speaking to ANC's "Dateline Philippines" on Saturday, Capeding said the experimental drug ZMapp, which was tested on two American missionaries, will have to undergo the clinical phase of development and tests on a bigger population.

The two Americans stricken with the virus have fully recovered after being given the experimental drug ZMapp and have been cleared of posing any public health risk.

Capeding noted parallel efforts to find a cure to the disease believed to be worse than dengue could well be underway.

"There are other companies that are also developing drugs of the same type for Ebola. But so far, it has not yet been in the later part of development... It has to undergo the third phase of development. It has to be licensed. It takes a long process before you can say that this drug, this vaccine is safe and effective," she said.

She said Philippine health authorities are prepared to detect, isolate and manage possible cases of Ebola coming from affected countries.

"We are establishing collaboration with different agencies, the Bureau of Quarantine, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health. May established na yun na system na once meron from these countries entering our country, dadalhin sa RITM. There will be history taking and tests will be done," she said.

"We are capable of detecting the virus. RITM has negative pressure rooms that will prevent cross contamination so nandoon ang patient while being under quarantined, observed for 2 to 21 days," she added.

Meantime, Philippine officials are coordinating with Togo on the status of a Filipino sailor who underwent tests for Ebola in West Africa after he exhibited Ebola-like symptoms.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is finalizing a plan to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus with details to be released next week.

The virus has so far claimed more than 1,300 lives in the worst outbreak on record. -- ANC