A new treatment developed using the antibodies harvested from the survivors of Ebola infection has proven effective against deadly Ebola virus. The survival rate is estimated as high as 90%.
Two experimental drugs – Regeneron’s REGN-EB3 and a monoclonal antibody called mAb114 – showed great results in a clinical trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The survival rates are better than those shown by two other tested treatments – ZMapp, produced by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, and Remdesivir, produced by Gilead Sciences.
“Moving forward, these are the only drugs that future patients will be treated with,” the World Health Organization (WHO) stated yesterday.
The world’s second largest Ebola outbreak in history started in the eastern DRC in August 2018 and has killed at least 1, 800 people.
The Congo treatment trial started in November 2018. It is being carried out by an international research group and co-ordinated by the WHO.
According to Anthony Fauci, one of the researchers co-leading the trial, and the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about 681 patients have already been enrolled. The study aims to enrol a total of 725.
“What this means is that we do now have what look like (two) treatments for a disease for which not long ago we really had no approach at all,” he confirmed.
Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, warned it was not enough to have this treatment to bring the epidemic to an end.
“The news today is fantastic. It gives us a new tool in our toolbox against Ebola, but it will not in itself stop Ebola,” he insisted.
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity, agreed stating that the invented drug would “undoubtedly save lives”.
“The more we learn about these two treatments… the closer we can get to turning Ebola from a terrifying disease to one that is preventable and treatable,” he declared. “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.”