Health Care

Scientists hail promise of first effective Ebola treatments

Scientists hail promise of first effective Ebola treatments”

Anthony Fauci, NIAID's director, also said the results were "very good news" for the fight against Ebola.

Scientists are a step closer to finding the first effective treatments for the deadly Ebola haemorrhagic fever after two potential drugs showed a survival rate of as much as 90% in a clinical trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United States health authority co-funding the research said Monday.

This is a post-infection treatment and not a vaccine as the whole world is accustomed to.

"REGN-EB3 is a 3-antibody cocktail designed with the goal of enhancing efficacy, reducing the development of viral sequences that lead to resistance, and increasing potential utility in future outbreaks as viruses continually evolve", Christos Kyratsous, PhD, vice president of research, infectious diseases and viral vector technologies at Regeneron, said in a press release.

The Congo treatment trial is being carried out by an worldwide research group co-ordinated by WHO.

The drug ZMapp along with remdesirir have been dropped after two other drugs were found to be more effective.

A 2018 study published in the Lancet medical journal says "belief in misinformation was widespread" concerning the Ebola outbreak.

The test of the drugs started in November as a part of the emergency response to the outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

It was the first-ever multi-drug trial for an Ebola treatment.

The study is an worldwide effort that is co-sponsored and funded by Congo's INRB and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the United States' National Institutes of Health.

Prof Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Director-General of the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in DRC, said, "From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable".

They showed "clearly better" results in patients in a trial of four potential treatments being conducted during the world's second-largest Ebola outbreak in history, now entering its second year in DRC.

The survival rate among patients with low levels of the virus in their blood was as high as 94% when they were given REGN-EB3, and 89% when on mAb114, the agency said.

"This recommendation was based on the fact that an early stopping criterion in the protocol had been met by one of the products, REGN-EB3". When the board met on August 9, it recommended that the study be halted, as individuals receiving REGN-EB3 or mAb114 had a greater chance of survival compared with the other treatment arms.

Consequently, the chief investigators of the study, its statistician and co-sponsors accepted this recommendation, and the Ebola treatment center staff at the sites were promptly informed.

Half of those who received ZMapp died.

The NIH added the final analysis of the data would occur in late September or early October, after which the complete results would be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed medical literature.

More than 1,300 people have been vaccinated in the city of Goma, close to the border with Rwanda, and since the beginning of August, there have been no reports of new cases confirmed.

The Government has sustained robust community awareness and mobilisation, vaccination of frontline workers, creating EVD treatment centres, and stepping up surveillance.

"Getting people into care more quickly is absolutely vital", Ryan said.

"For example, going to affected regions has to be avoided and people must avoid, for example, going to a burial when they do not know the actual cause of death".



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