DAKAR (Reuters) - One of three African doctors infected with Ebola and treated with the experimental drug ZMapp has died in Monrovia, Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown said on Monday.
Liberia, the West African country where Ebola is spreading fastest, received three doses of the rare treatment on August 13. Initially, Liberia said the three doctors, Zukunis Ireland and Abraham Borbor from Liberia and Dr. Aroh Cosmos Izchukwu from Nigeria, were responding well to the treatment, raising optimism about the experimental therapy.
Asked to confirm the death of doctor Borbor, Brown said: "That is correct. He died yesterday."
Two U.S. aid workers who caught Ebola in Liberia were declared free of the virus and released from an Atlanta hospital last week after receiving the same treatment. But a Spanish priest who received ZMapp died.
The drug's U.S.-based manufacturer, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, says limited supplies have already been exhausted and producing more will take time. There are other drugs in the pipeline but all are unproven and have yet to clear even the earliest stage of clinical trials.
The hemorrhagic fever has killed at least 1,427 people in the deadliest outbreak of the disease to date. In the week through to August 22, 297 new suspected, probable and confirmed cases of Ebola were reported in Liberia - the largest number of weekly cases since the epidemic began in March, according to a United Nations Children's Fund report.
Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those infected though the fatality rate in the current epidemic is around 60 percent.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Daniel Flynn)