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Potential cure for Ebola following trial success

Two treatments increased rates of survival

WHO

An independent monitoring board has called for the early termination of an Ebola trial, following findings that two out of four drugs being tested are effective in treating the disease. 

The Pamoja Tulinde Maisha (PALM) study, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), enrolled 681 patients at four Ebola treatment centres in various locations. The outbreak of Ebola in the DRC began in August 2018, with the fatality rate of the disease at 67% if it is not treated.

The trial was monitored by an independent data and safety monitoring board, which has recommended the study be stopped and that all future patients receive either REGN0EB3 or mAB114.

This recommendation came following preliminary results from the first 499 patients, which indicated that individuals receiving these treatments had a greater chance of survival compared to the other two drugs being tested, ZMapp and remdesivir. Those patients who were randomised to receive ZMapp or remdesivir now have the option to receive the more effective treatments.

Two patients enrolled in the trial have since been ‘cured’, and were released from a treatment centre in Goma, in the east of the DRC, according to the BBC.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a US medical research agency, final results of the comparable data of these two treatments will likely not be available until late September or early October 2019.

However, the independent monitoring board and those involved in the study believe that the initial findings warrant the recommendation and implementation of immediate changes to the trial.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), that coordinated the study initiative in November 2018, has said that it “will continue to conduct rigorous research and incorporate findings into the Ebola outbreak response through a variety of prevention and control strategies”.

Although there is an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck which has proven 100% efficacy, until now an effective treatment for Ebola once a patient has already been infected has not been developed.

In July 2019, WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in the DRC a public health emergency of international concern, following a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. These two novel treatments could tackle the outbreak, with the potential for increased survival without relying solely on prevention methods.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

15th August 2019

From: Research

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