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By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The worst Ebola outbreak in history is heaping new pressure on U.S. regulators to speed the development of treatments for the deadly virus, which has killed more than 700 people since February. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday said in an emailed statement the agency "stands ready" to work with companies and investigators working with patients "in dire need of treatment." A senior official within FDA told Reuters the agency would consider proposals for providing treatments under special emergency new drug applications, if the benefits of the treatment outweighed the potential safety risks. FDA's statement follow calls by doctors fed up by the lack of progress on Ebola treatments, a market deemed too small to gain much attention by large pharmaceutical companies. Earlier this month, the agency put a hold on a Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp clinical trial of TKM-Ebola, one of the few Ebola treatments advanced enough to be tested in people.