Behind the Scenes of the Drug Approval Process: Containing Ebola

The spread of Ebola is unsettling to many Americans, yet to date the U.S. FDA and the EMA (the FDA’s European counterpart) have not approved any medicines or vaccines to treat a potential global outbreak. In October 2014, both agencies released guidelines for companies to get accelerated approval for potential Ebola treatments; such emergency responses are unprecedented. Why did the FDA and EMA make these rules in the case of Ebola and how will they change the course of drug approval? Harvard University chemist Li Zha explains.