A World Health Organisation panel of medical ethics experts ruled on Tuesday that it is ethical to offer unproven drugs or vaccines as potential treatments or preventions in West Africa's deadly Ebola outbreak.
The United Nations health agency said provision of experimental Ebola drugs required "informed consent, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for the person, preservation of dignity and involvement of the community".
The panel met to discuss whether various experimental medicines and vaccines being developed for Ebola might be used in the outbreak, despite not having been fully tested or licensed.
The meeting was called after an experimental Ebola drug called ZMapp, made by U.S. biotech company Mapp Biopharmaceutical, was given to two American health workers infected with Ebola in Liberia.
"Ebola outbreaks can be contained using available interventions like early detection and isolation, contact tracing and monitoring, and adherence to rigorous procedures of infection control," the panel said in a statement.
"However, a specific treatment or vaccine would be a potent asset to counter the virus."