Two New Drugs Significantly Lower Death Rate — Ebola Cure Found

A man receives a vaccine against Ebola from a nurse outside the Afia Himbi Health Centre

One issue researchers will have to analyze: Occasionally people who receive the Ebola vaccine still become sick, including some in the treatment study, which raises the question of whether their earlier protection inflated the drugs' survival numbers.

The clinical trial will continue comparing these two drugs in Ebola treatment centers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, STAT reported.

The study dubbed Pamoja Tulinde Maisha (PALM [together save lives]) is a randomized, controlled trial of four investigational agents (ZMapp, remdesivir, mAb114 and REGN-EB3) for the treatment of patients with Ebola.

They're the first drugs that, in scientifically sound research, have clearly shown a great diminution in mortality for Ebola patients, stated Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.

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. After the results are finalized, an Expanded Access Phase will be initiated using the lead therapeutic from the trial.

WHO is committed to continuing to work closely with the ministries of health of DRC and neighboring countries, and other worldwide partners to ensure the outbreak response remains robust and well-coordinated.

The drugs, tested in a almost nine-month clinical trial, have performed so well that health professionals will now administer them to every patient in Congo. Almost 29% of the patients who were given REGN-EB3 died, whereas close to 34% of the patients who were treated with mAb114 faced death.

In comparison, two-thirds of the patients who got Remdesivir and almost three-quarters on ZMapp survived. During the trial, when patients with low levels of Ebola virus in their bloodstream were treated with REGN-EB3, the survival rate touched around 94%.

What impact could the drugs have?


"We won't ever get rid of Ebola but we should be able to stop these outbreaks from turning into major national and regional epidemics", he said.

A sense that Ebola is incurable and a lack of trust in medical workers in DR Congo has held back treatment of the virus.

When the researchers took a deeper look at how patients fared when they seek treatment early in the disease progression, the drugs looked promising. A vaccine is a type of medicine that improves immunity to a particular disease, as a preventative measure.

Because of the clear superiority of these two monoclonal antibodies, the trials at the DRC have been stopped, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

"We are still seeing too many people stay away from Ebola treatment units, too many people not coming to hospitals are not being found in time to benefit from these therapies".

Just under a month ago, the Ebola outbreak in Congo was declared a global health emergency.

The current outbreak in the DRC is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.

About 200 health facilities have been attacked in the country this year, causing disruption to vaccinations and treatments.

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

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