Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Two Trialed Drugs Show Promise in Potentially Preventing and Treating Ebola

New Ebola Vaccine Introduced in DRC Boston Medical Center pathogen specialist hails new Ebola study hinting at possible cure
Samantha Long | 13 August, 2019, 18:59

"A long-running outbreak like this takes its bad toll on the affected communities, and it's a sign of just how challenging it has been to control this epidemic that there have been sufficient number of patients treated for telling us more about these four drugs' efficacy", said director of the Wellcome Trust, Dr. Jeremy Farrar.

Scientists however are hopeful that Ebola may soon be a preventable and treatable disease after promising clinical trials of two drugs which, according to expert Dr Sabue Mulangu, saw 60 per cent of the 681 patients survive.

And the Washington Post quotes Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying: "It's the first example that a therapeutic intervention can have a dramatic effect on decreasing the mortality of the Ebola virus disease".

"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 DRC is grappling with the world's second largest Ebola epidemic on record, with more than 1,800 lives lost and over 2,600 confirmed infections since the outbreak was declared on August 1, 2018, according to the central African nation's ministry of health.

Trials like "Together Save Lives" have been introduced in areas like the Congo during outbreaks to test what treatments may be most effective for infected patients. The preliminary results in 499 study participants indicated that individuals receiving REGN-EB3 or mAb114 had a greater chance of survival compared to participants in the other two arms.

Developed with the help of antibodies harvested from Ebola survivors, mAb114 and REGN-EB3 will be used for treating patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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World Health Organization specialists explain that the drugs attach anti-bodies to the outside of the EBOLA virus, destroying it.

The NIAID, part of the NIH, and the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale in the DRC jointly sponsored the trial.

"This underscores the importance of doing randomized, controlled trials. You can get ethically sound and scientifically sound information rapidly", he said.

The NIH, Democratic Republic of Congo health authorities and the World Health Organization hailed the "extraordinary team of individuals who have worked under extremely hard conditions to carry out this study", as well as the patients and their families.

The WHO's director-general has described the current outbreak as more complex than the deadlier 2014-2016 outbreak in multiple West African countries due to the region's political instability, attacks on health workers, a highly mobile population and community mistrust and misinformation.

"Getting people into care more quickly is absolutely vital", Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, said during Monday's telephone briefing.

The trial began at the end of 2018 during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is still going on and is termed as the second-largest outbreak on record.

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