(NEW YORK TIMES) GENEVA β€” The World Health Organization on Tuesday endorsed the use of untested drugs to combat the Ebola virus, just hours after a Spanish priest who had been supplied with experimental medication became the first European to die of a disease that has claimed more than 1,000 lives in West Africa and which ranks as the worst known outbreak.

Citing medical confidentiality rules, hospital officials in Madrid declined to say whether the priest, Miguel Pajares, 75, had been treated with an experimental drug, ZMapp, made in the United States, which the Spanish Health Ministry said on Monday it had obtained for him.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization convened an ethics panel on Monday to debate the broader use of untested drugs and said in a statement on its website on Tuesday: β€œIn the particular circumstances of this outbreak, and provided certain conditions are met, the panel reached consensus that it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention.”

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