Friday, 06 December, 2019

Two vaccines show significant promise in fight against Ebola virus

Two vaccines show significant promise in fight against Ebola virus Two vaccines show significant promise in fight against Ebola virus
Gustavo Carr | 13 August, 2019, 18:57

They are the "first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality" for Ebola patients, said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.

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

With early stages of investigations in understanding the treatment and prevention of the disease, it rapidly spread to the neighbouring countries, becoming the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded in the West-African history.

World Health Organization specialists explain that the drugs attach anti-bodies to the outside of the EBOLA virus, destroying it.

The DRC is grappling with the world's second largest Ebola epidemic on record, with more than 1,800 lives lost and over 2,600 confirmed infections since the outbreak was declared on August 1, 2018, according to the central African nation's ministry of health.

When a monitoring group determined that two of those drugs were vastly outperforming the others based on data from 499 patients, scientists called off the study and said they would exclusively treat Ebola patients with the more effective drugs going forward.

As per the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who co-sponsored the trial, mentioned the results are "excellent news" for the battle against Ebola.

The two drugs - one developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the other by NIH researchers - are antibodies that work by blocking the virus.

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The randomized, multicenter, controlled trial was created to evaluate the safety and efficacy of 3 antibody-based investigational agents for the treatment of Ebola: REGN-EB3, ZMapp, and mAb114, and 1 small molecule antiviral remdesivir. Their death rates came to only 6% with REGN-EB3, 11% with mAB114, 24% on ZMapp and 33% with Remdesivir.

"The news today is fantastic". Efforts to control it have been hampered by militia violence and some local resistance to outside help.

The first is REGN-EB3, a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies against Ebola made by USA firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals New York State.

Mr Farrar continued: "We won't ever get rid of Ebola but we should be able to stop these outbreaks from turning into major national and regional epidemics".

"It means we do have now what looks like [two] treatments for a disease which, not too long ago, we really had no therapeutic approach at all", Fauci told reporters during a telephone briefing Monday, stressing that more research needs to be done.

9, 2019, the trial had enrolled 681 patients toward an enrollment total of 725. The other two experimental drugs used in the trial were less effective and will be abandoned soon.

The two promising drugs are made from Ebola antibodies - a protein produced by the immune system to defend against infection.