Patients Diagnosed with Deadly Diseases should have Access to Untested Drugs

 

[Author’s Name]

[Course]

[Tutor’s Name]

[Submission Date]

 

Patients Diagnosed with Deadly Diseases should have Access to Untested Drugs

Outline

  1. Introduction

Thesis: Although arguments against the use of untested drugs are valid, this practice should be authorized with restricted application because it has previously saved human lives.

  1. The process of adopting a new vaccine or curative drug
    1. Phase one: Pre-clinical development
  1. Antigen identification
  2. Vaccine development concept
  • Vaccine efficacy evaluation
  1. Animal testing
    1. Phase two: Clinical development
  1. Stages 1 to 4 of human testing
  1. Issues related to untested treatments
    1. Arguments against the use of untested treatments
  1. Untested toxicity and side effects of new drugs
  2. Development of drug resistant disease varieties
    1. Arguments for the use of untested treatments
  1. Saving patients from dying
  2. The success of untested drugs in treating Ebola
  1. Conclusion

 

Patients Diagnosed with Deadly Diseases should have Access to Untested Drugs

Introduction

A history of The Black Death, Smallpox, and HIV/AIDS presents some of the most terrifying experiences humanity has undergone in its past. The first indiscriminately eliminated approximately sixty percent of the European population between 1347 AD and 1355 AD. Even today, it continues to claim approximately two thousand lives every year. As for the second one, the World Health Organization explains that its effects took the lives of at least five hundred million individuals between the year 1880 AD and 1980 AD. Nonetheless, it was permanently eradicated. HIV/AIDS continues to trouble humanity with no curative drug developed against the disease. Other common deadly diseases include Measles, Ebola, Malaria, Leprosy, Syphilis, Influenza, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease, and Meningitis among others (Dobson 18). Some of these diseases do not have preventive and curative interventions. At the same time, they are highly infectious and affect large parts of populations within short periods of time (Quammen 32). It is against this background that various individuals and institutions raise the argument that patients who get diagnosed with deadly illnesses should have access to treatments which have not gone through clinical testing. Although arguments against the use of untested drugs are valid, this practice should be authorized with restricted application because it has previously saved human lives.

The Process of Adopting a New Vaccine or Curative Drug

All vaccines and curative drugs get adopted after years of research. Medicine and healthcare products remain very sensitive in facilitating the survival of humanity. As a result, humans take care not to make unnecessary mistakes by adopting and using faulty drugs. Notably, before a drug gets adopted, it has to go through the two phases of pre-clinical and clinical development (Acton 38). In the first step, medical researchers perform screening procedures to identify antigens that can correctly act against disease causing pathogens. They then institute the concept upon which the vaccine or drug will be developed. This gets followed by a vaccine efficacy evaluation. It is after this that drugs’ production may be authorized. At this stage, a vaccine may be tested on other animals but not humans (Faqi 41).

In the second phase, four major stages must be undergone. These involve the testing of produced drugs on human beings with progressive increment in the number of individuals that get tested. At this stage, the toxicity levels of the drugs also get tested as well as their possible side effects on humans. Markedly, all individuals on whom such drugs get tested must be aware of the process. They must also volunteer to undergo the process. Otherwise, the procedures get considered as unethical (Spilker 210).

Issues Related to Untested Treatments

Arguments against the Use of Untested Treatments

Contrary perspectives indicate that numerous ethical and security issues remain attached to the use of untested treatments. One of these affects the toxicity levels in such drugs. Notably, anti-pathogen elements in drugs also affect other parts of human bodies. As such, some untested drugs may be presumed safe for human use (Pennington 266). However, they may end up killing individuals instantly or progressively. Similarly, they may have detrimental side effects. The most outstanding issue about these drugs concerns the fact that they may lead to the development of drug resistant varieties of the same or other diseases. When this happens, it compounds the problem of incurable diseases (Ashton 32).

Arguments for the Use of Untested Treatments

The sensitive nature of deadly diseases presents a dilemma to many global health institutions. Some of such diseases incapacitate individuals and kill large numbers of individuals within few days. The common perception of most individuals with such diseases and their loved ones is that they will ultimately die. They therefore resort to any available desperate means of trying to solve the problem quickly (Gabain 91). In cases where the diseases in question are infectious, sometimes the patients get neglected to die. With this argument, physicians and patients may argue that trying to help such individuals would cost nothing because they are already dying anyway (Acton 163).

Perhaps, the greatest argument supporting the use of untested drugs gets supported by fact that a recent trial on Ebola succeeded. The two patients involved included Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. They had been working with volunteer medical teams in Liberia where they got infected with the Ebola Virus. They were administered ZMapp antibodies which had not been tested. After weeks of treatment, the two were declared safe from any risk. This is against the fact that Ebola still had no tested and confirmed curative drug (Quammen 72).

Conclusion

In conclusion, deadly diseases have remained outstanding threats to human survival. Some of them bear the ability to eliminate the whole humanity if no action is taken. Because of their lethal nature, various institutions and individuals have suggested that those diagnosed with deadly illnesses should have access to treatments which have not gone through clinical testing. Those opposing this step quote reasons related to untested toxicity levels and the development of drug resistance varieties of diseases. Although these reasons are valid, they cannot weigh against the fact that untested drugs have previously saved lives. In conclusion, patients diagnosed with deadly diseases should have access to untested drugs. However, such access should be controlled and restricted for safety purposes.

 

Works Cited

Acton, Harrison. Advances in Immunization Research and Treatment: Scholarly Brief. Georgia: Scholarly Editions, 2012. Print

Ashton, Carol. Comparative Effectiveness Research: Evidence, Medicine, and Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.

Dobson, Mary. Disease: The Extraordinary Stories behind History’s Deadliest Killers. London: Quercus, 2008. Print.

Gabain, Alexander. Development of Novel Vaccines: Skills, Knowledge, and Translational Technologies. Wien: Springer, 2011. Print.

Pennington, Bruce. Diagnosing Learning Disorders: A Neuropsychological Framework. New York: Guilford Press, 2009. Print.

Quammen, David. Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus. New York: Norton & Company, 2014. Print.

Spilker, Bert. Guide to Drug Development: A Comprehensive Review and Assessment. Philadelphia: Williams & Wilkins, 2009. Print.

Faqi, Ali. A Comprehensive Guide to Toxicology in Preclinical Drug Development. London: Academic Press, 2013. Print.