US agrees to Liberia plea for samples of experimental Ebola drug

Liberia's government said today that US authorities have approved its request to send sample doses of the experimental ZMapp drug to doctors infected by Ebola.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had earlier made a request to US authorities for delivery of the drug, so far the most effective against the virus.

Liberia is among the worst-hit by the tropical virus, which has caused at least 268 deaths so far among the thousands detected with infections.

A statement published on the Liberian presidency's website said, ''The sample doses will be brought to Liberia by a US government representative this week''.

Altogether 1,013 people deaths have been recorded in the Ebola hit countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the World Health Organisation said Monday.

The United Nation's World Health Organisation (WHO) on 8 August declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa an international health emergency. (See: WHO declares Ebola epidemic a global emergency).

There is no proven vaccine or cure for Ebola virus at present. Zmapp has only been tested on monkeys so far and is still unlicensed for use on humans.

However, the drug was given to two US patients affected with the virus and a Roman Catholic priest and all of them have shown signs of improvement.

The Ebola virus, which spreads through mucous and other body fluids or secretions such as stool, urine, saliva and semen of infected people, is believed to be very difficult to control if it spreads.