Scientists are a step closer to finding the first effective treatments for the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever after two potential drugs showed survival rate of as much as 90 per cent in a clinical trial in Congo.
Two experimental drugs – Regeneron’s REGN-EB3 and a monoclonal antibody called mAb114 – were both developed using antibodies harvested from survivors of Ebola infection.
The treatments are now going to be offered to all patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
They showed “clearly better” results in patients in a trial of four potential treatments being conducted during the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak in history, now entering its second year in DRC.
The drugs improved survival rates from the disease more than two other treatments being tested – ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, and Remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences – and those products will be now dropped, said Anthony Fauci, one of the researchers co-leading the trial.
The agency said 49 per cent of the patients on ZMapp and 53 per cent on remdesivir died in the study. In comparison, 29 per cent of the patients on REGN-EB3 and 34 per cent on mAb-114 died.
Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters in a telebriefing the results were “very good news” for the fight against Ebola.
“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,” he said.
The agency said of the patients who were brought into treatment centres with low levels of virus detected in their blood, 94 per cent who got REGN-EB3 and 89 per cent on mAb114 survived.
In comparison, two-third of the patients who got remdesivir and nearly three-fourth on ZMapp survived.