The National Health Research Ethics Committee, has approved the use of the experimental Ebola drug, ZMapp, for treatment of patients infected with the Ebola virus.
The committee, which composes of research scientists, is a national body under the federal ,ministry of Health.
The endorsement is contained in a statement issued to newsmen by the chairman of the committee, Clement Adebamowo, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The committee’s decision is coming on the heels of Tuesday’s approval by the World Health Organisation, WHO, of the use of ZMapp for treatment of Ebola patients.
“It is ethical to use these treatments in the current situation without first submitting an application to National, State or Institutional Health Research Ethics Committee for prior review and approval,” the chairman said.
In addition, the committee waived the current requirement that international shipment of any biological samples out of Nigeria should be preceded by the establishment of a Materials Transfer Agreement.
“This waiver is to promote rapid international response to this global emergency,” the statement added.
However, the committee emphasised that all innovative and non-validated treatments should be carefully and adequately documented.
It said the documentation can form the basis for clinical trials of the efficacy and side effects of the treatment according to established scientific principles.
The ethics committee further enjoined all agencies, development partners and research scientists to follow the guideline for the rapid resolution of the current emergency.
“The guideline will contribute to preparedness in case of future occurrences and contribution to scientific knowledge. It must be noted that all Phase O and Phase I Clinical Trials that may subsequently be designed for treatment of this infection can be approved only by the National Health Research Ethics Committee,” the statement said.