The deadly Ebola virus has claimed another life, as a Spanish priest died of the disease in a Madrid hospital Tuesday morning.
Father Miguel Pajares died mere days after he had been evacuated by air from Liberia for treatment with an experimental drug, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed.
After being flown out of Liberia in a Spanish Air Force medical jet, the 75-year-old missionary was treated in a special isolation unit of Madrid's Carlos III Hospital when he died.
On Saturday, Spain's Ministry of Health Services said it had approved an import permit for ZMapp, an experimental Ebola drug that has also been given to infected Americans Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol on an exceptional basis. According to the ministry, the drug had been delivered immediately to the hospital where Mr. Pajares was undergoing treatment.
On Thursday, Mr. Pajares was in a "stable clinical condition" according to Spanish authorities. Shortly afterward, medical personnel stopped offering updates on his condition, at the priest's request.
However, according to Spanish state-owned news agency EFE , people attending Mr. Pajares reported that the priest experienced breathing problems and a decline in his vital signs in the hours before his death.
According to reports, Pajares had worked for the San Juan de Dios hospital order, a Spain-based Catholic humanitarian group, and had been helping to treat people with Ebola in Liberia.
He had worked as a missionary in Africa for nearly five decades and was due to return to Spain for good in September. Those who knew him said the priest was "kind and compassionate man" who "risked his life to help those in need."
Ebola, whose symptoms can begin with fever and nausea and progress to internal bleeding, has been known to kill up to 90% of those it infects. It spreads through contact with bodily fluids.
The deadly disease has killed more than 1,000 people since the current outbreak emerged from the forests of Guinea in December to February, according to the WHO. The virus has infected an additional 1,711.
Currently, the World Health Organization declared it is ethical to use unproven Ebola drugs and vaccines in the current outbreak in West Africa provided the right conditions are met.
Many protest that the vast majority of Ebola victims have been Africans, and their citizens are not getting access to the necessary drugs.
"We can't afford to be passive while many more die," said Aisha Dab, a Senegalese-Gambian journalist who was tweeting using the hashtag "GiveUsTheSerum." ''That's why we raise our voice for the world to hear us."
According to WHO, The U.S. government has put Liberian officials in touch with the California-based maker of ZMapp, Mapp Biopharmaceutical.