Ebola drugs show ‘90pc survival rate’ in breakthrough trial

Maricruz Casares
Agosto 13, 2019

The therapies that have improved survival rates are REGN-EB3, a cocktail of three monoclonal Ebola antibodies made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), and mAb114, a single monoclonal antibody developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, STAT News reported Monday.

Prof Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Director-General of the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in DRC, said, "From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable".

"Now that 90 per cent of their patients can go into the treatment centre and come out completely cured, they will start believing it and building trust in the population and community".

Health authorities in the Congo have halted an Ebola treatment study that began last November early with the good news that two of the four experimental drugs seem to be saving lives.

"The trial will have saved lives".

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.

But the results in people who arrived at a treatment centre soon after they became sick, rather than staying at home, were even more impressive - with death rates of 24% on ZMapp, 33% with Remdesivir, 11% with 114 and just 6% with Regeneron's drug.

"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".

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) co-ordinated the trial, which began in November previous year.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO's emergencies program, said the trial's positive findings were encouraging but would not be enough on their own to bring the epidemic to an end. "It gives us a new tool in our toolbox against Ebola, but it will not in itself stop Ebola", he told reporters.

The Congo treatment trial is being carried out by an global research group co-ordinated by WHO.

"The more we learn about these two treatments, and how they can complement the public health response, including contact tracing and vaccination, the closer we can get to turning Ebola from a terrifying disease to one that is preventable and treatable".

Fauci explained that the trial was created to include 725 people, but was halted by an independent board when it had enrolled 681 people because at that point, one of the drugs, REGN-EB3 by Regeneron, reached a critical threshold in success, while mAb114 was not far behind.

As of August 9, 2019, the trial had enrolled 681 patients toward an enrollment of 725 individuals from 4 treatment centers in Beni, Katwa, Butembo, and Mangina.

REGN-EB3 and mAb114 "are the first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality for people with Ebola virus disease", Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. Get it for your iPhone here.

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