Untested drugs are an acceptable option for fighting Ebola in West Africa, says the World Health Organisation (WHO). The authority for health within the United Nations has declared that offering "unproven interventions with as-yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention" is an ethical response to the ongoing outbreak in the region.

The advice follows a consultation between the WHO and a team of experts, including Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar, who concluded that the fatality rate of the disease justified the risk of using untried medicine.

The agency stressed that providing such interventions must be conducted with transparency and be informed by ethical criteria including informed consent, confidentiality and preservation of dignity.
It also referred to the "moral obligation" of those using non-regulated drugs to collect and share all data generated.