Tuesday, 20 August, 2019


Two vaccines show significant promise in fight against Ebola virus

A girl receives a vaccine against Ebola from a nurse in Goma A girl receives a vaccine against Ebola from a nurse in Goma
Patty Aguilar | 13 August, 2019, 22:56

The plan now by health officials is to use the medication to treat all Ebola patients in DR Congo.

In a multi-drug randomised trial that began as a part of the emergency response in the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 20, 2018, two of the four Ebola treatment drugs were determined more effective in treating patients than others, the World Health Organization said.

The study is an worldwide effort that is co-sponsored and funded by Congo's INRB and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the United States' National Institutes of Health. The BBC reported that use of Remdesivir and a third monoclonal antibody drug called ZMapp "have been dropped from trials as they were found to be less effective".

The drugs REGN-EB3 and mAb114 showed "clearly better" results compared to the others, according to the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).

Initially, the Ebola trial, which began in November 2018, involved three drugs - mAb114, remdesivir and ZMapp.

The study was carried out in regions of the DRC that have been experiencing the nation's largest-ever Ebola outbreak, which began past year and has claimed almost 1900 lives.

The two antibody-based treatments, REGN-EB3 and mAb-114, work by blocking a critical protein in the Ebola virus.

One issue researchers will have to analyze: Occasionally people who receive the Ebola vaccine still become sick, including some in the treatment study, which raises the question of whether their earlier protection inflated the drugs' survival numbers.

In contrast, 49% on ZMapp and 53% on Remdesivir died in the study, the agency said.

Four drugs have been tried on patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there's a major outbreak of the virus.

An global World Health Organisation-coordinated team consisting of the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale, the Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Health, and three humanitarian organisations began conducting trials in November 2018 and aimed to compare the effectiveness of new therapies on 725 patients.

When the researchers took a deeper look at how patients fared when they seek treatment early in the disease progression, the drugs looked promising. The World Health Organization (WHO) then assessed all preclinical and clinical data on all available investigational products, and recommended the addition of REGN-EB3 as a fourth treatment.

The complete results will be submitted for publication in the peer-reviewed medical literature as soon as possible.

"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 said in a statement.

"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.

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