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EMA: Lack of evidence for Ebola treatments

Not enough data to draw conclusions on effectiveness of experimental drugs

EMA logoMore evidence is needed on the effectiveness of experimental treatments for the Ebola virus, according to EU regulators.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said today that all medicines it is reviewing are still at an early stage of development and there is not enough data at the moment to draw conclusions on their safety or efficacy when used in Ebola patients.

“Treatments for patients infected with the Ebola virus are still in early stages of development,” said Marco Cavaleri, head of anti-infectives and vaccines at the EMA.

“We encourage developers to generate more information on the use of these medicines in the treatment of Ebola patients. We will review any new information as soon as it becomes available to support the response to this ongoing public health crisis.”

The EMA has been encouraging pharma companies and biotechs to develop an effective Ebola treatment since the current outbreak of the disease, which has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people in West Africa.

The regulator announced in September this year its intention to review several experimental medicines, including LeafBio's promising ZMapp, and later announced it would offer orphan drug benefits to companies working in the area.

A possible treatment for Ebola looks a long way away, however, despite seven drugs currently under review by the EMA.

A more promising area of research in the fight against Ebola is vaccines, with several in development and being tested in human subjects.

This includes investigation products from Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, both of which appear to be progressing well in developing a vaccine to prevent the virus.

Merck & Co also recently joined the race to develop an Ebola vaccine by acquiring the licence to rVSV-EBOV from NewLink Genetics.

However, this prospect has come up against some difficulties in recent days with Merck halting a trial after some patients reported joint pains.

Article by
Thomas Meek

16th December 2014

From: Research, Regulatory



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