Dr. Gorbee Logan’s claimed success rate would make any biotech startup blush with pride. Quoting,
Kundu and the other 12 patients who took the lamivudine and survived, received the drug in the first five days or so of their illness. The two patients who died received it between days five and eight.
"I'm sure that when [patients] present early, this medicine can help," Logan said. "I've proven it right in my center."
In our world, two steps would have to occur before it was generally used:
1. Confirm the results reported by Dr. Logan, which is a euphemism for deciding he is not a liar.
2. Convene an ethics panel to decide that the confirmed results conform with the official ethical view of things.
With only a single diagnosis of Ebola in the U.S., we can afford the brand of detachment that offers the possibility of a million (+ or -) deaths elsewhere. But in Africa, where victims are dropping like flies, one has to wonder. And in wondering, we inform ourselves about ourselves. Because we are not so different.
This is a magnificent test case for anyone who has found the approach of this blog interesting. It’s worth keeping a diary about the journey this drug, lamivudine, takes to eventual acceptance or rejection.
If it works, how many lives were lost due to no more than a defective process of critical thought?
We live in a world rife with false hopes of medical miracles, outright frauds, misrepresentation, and fatal errors, twisted by economic imperatives and personal reputations. But could the defense against the malign currents itself exact a toll of hundreds of thousands, or millions of lives?
What does it say about the way we think?