Wednesday , October 5 2022

New drugs against Ebola show promising results in Congo


Two of four drugs used since November in a comprehensive clinical trial to treat Ebola patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have shown promising results.

Between 70 and 90 percent of those who are sick survive with the two preparations – the highest proportion is found among those with the lowest level of the virus in the blood. Of those who received two other drugs, 50-75 percent survive.

Without treatment, up to two-thirds of those infected with Ebola die.

– This is fantastic news. It gives us new tools in the tool to fight Ebola, even if they themselves do not stop Ebola, says Mike Ryan, director of the World Health Organization's urgent program.

Vaccination against Ebola in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Photo: Augustin Wamenya / AFP

Both promising preparations, mAb114 and REGN-EB3, were developed from antibodies taken from humans that survived Ebola.

According to the US health agency NIAID, which funds the study, 71 percent of those who received REGN-EB3, and 66 percent of those who received mAb114, survived, Reuters reports.

Among patients with low levels of the virus, the survival rate was 94 and 89 percent, respectively.

All four drugs began to be used in November last year in the Congolese Ebola epidemic as part of WHO's first randomized multi-drug study.

On Monday, WHO and its partners decided to abandon the other two preparations, thus giving worse results.

The decision is based on an analysis of 499 treated patients. The aim of the study is to treat 725 patients, but last Friday an independent monitoring body, DSMB, recommended discontinuing the four-drug trial and that all patients should now be treated with mAb114 and REGN-EB3 only.

By then, 681 patients had received treatment with the four drugs at four clinics in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jeremy Farrar, head of the British aid organization Wellcome Trust, also welcomes the encouraging results.

"We will never release Ebola, but we could be able to prevent the outbreak from becoming a major national and regional epidemic," Farrar said in a statement.

Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo that started a year ago, it's the second deadliest so far. At least 1,800 people died. The fight against the disease is hampered by poor infrastructure and the violence of local militias.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2013 to 2016 has claimed just over 11,000 deaths.

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