Ebola drugs found to increase survival rates

Ebola health workers July 2019

"Moving forward, these are the only drugs that future patients will be treated with", the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement released on Monday. Researchers administered one of four drugs to patients who had participated in the study, and when a monitoring group they noticed that two of those drugs were vastly outperforming the others.

The NIH, the DR Congo health authorities and the WHO 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 two others in that group have since died.

Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director general of Congo's Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in DRC, who co-led the trial, said the results meant that "from now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable".

The latest outbreak in DR Congo began a year ago with the World Health Organisation saying the Ebola crisis is a "public health emergency of global concern".

A total of 1,892 deaths have been recorded since the first case of Ebola in the most recent outbreak in eastern DRC was registered on August 1 2018.

"Modifications have been made to the treatment of Ebola patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo", said Lindmeier.

The trial is monitored by an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) that meets periodically to review interim safety and efficacy data and to make recommendations to the study team and the sponsors.

Researchers said that with early diagnosis and treatment, however, more than 90% of infected people can survive if they are given REGN-EB3 and mAb114.

The virus, which can cause severe internal bleeding, is transmitted via contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

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"Obviously, this is a very important advance", Fauci said.

The findings come from a study of four different drugs that started in November of previous year.

The study showed that REGN-EB3 and mAb114 had mortality rates of 29% and 34%.

Ebola is risky but it is curable with correct treatment, said Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director of Congo's National Institute for Biomedical Research.

Patients were enrolled at four Ebola Treatment Centers (ETCs) in Beni, Katwa, Butembo and Mangina. Now, all Ebola treatment units will use the two monoclonal antibody drugs.

"This trial was conducted in hard circumstances during a public health emergency, and we appreciate the efforts of the WHO and other experts to add REGN-EB3 to the trial", said Sumathi Sivapalasingam, M.D., senior director of early clinical development and experimental sciences at Regeneron, in a statement.

Dr Fauci hopes that patients will now feel "more comfortable about seeking care early".

After the West African Ebola outbreak that killed more than 11,000 people from 2014-2016, the National Academy of Sciences declared that research in the midst of an outbreak was ethically and scientifically appropriate, and the present trial supports that sentiment, Fauci says.

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