The end of Ebola is getting closer thanks to two new drugs

The World Health Organization (WHO) field team and the National Institutes of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have announced the real effectiveness of two new experimental treatments implemented since November 2018 in this country during an outbreak trial of the illness.

The fight against the Ebola virus seems to be closer and closer to its end. This disease, according to the World Health Organization, is serious and has a lethality rate of 90 percent. It is caused by the Ebola virus of the filovirus family and was first found in 1976 after two outbreaks that took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Sudan.

Despite the efforts, it is not yet known how this virus arises but current analyzes suggest that the possible hosts could be fruit bats. What are its effects? First, fever and muscle pain followed by extreme weakness in our body. Then, with the development of the virus in our body, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding occur. It is an almost lethal disease due to the dehydration of the body and the multiorgan failures that occur.

A new outbreak in 2018
A global public health emergency whose most potential outbreak took place between 2014 and 2016. However, just one year ago, another outbreak came up again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that alarmed the entire international medical community: 1,700 people died and 2,500 had to need urgent treatment.

There were no effective vaccines against this disease except an experimental one, ‘rVSV-ZEBOV’, used for the first time in 2015 in Guinea in a clinical trial and which proved to provide protection.

Now we have a new hopeful fact: the end of Ebola could be near. “From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable,” said Jean-Jacques Muyembe, general director of the National Institute of Recherche Biomedicale in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Two experimental vaccines stop the virus
The World Health Organization (WHO) field team and the National Institutes of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have announced the real effectiveness of two new experimental treatments implemented since November 2018 in this country during an outbreak trial of the illness.

Both drugs, called ‘mAb114’ and ‘REGN-EB3’, have shown survival rates of almost 90 percent in patients infected with Ebola virus. How was the clinical trial developed? In November last year, after the outbreak of the new outbreak in August, infected people who were in four treatment centers in the country were selected to receive one of the four trial therapies. In total 499 people participated.

ebola

Reduce mortality up to 6%
First, one of the therapies was based on the use of the antiviral drug Remdesivir; the second therapy by the monoclonal antibodies REGN-EB3 and mAb114. Finally, the objective was to compare these three therapies with the one used during the first major outbreak of the epidemic that was ZMapp.

In the case of ZMapp, this drug reduced mortality figures to 49 percent, although the results of its use were inconclusive after the first outbreak. For its part, the REGN-EB3 antibody reduced this rate to 29 percent and mAb114 to 34 percent.

However, the results were even more surprising when they administered these experimental vaccines in patients with the virus but at an early stage. REGN-EB3 reduced mortality to 6 percent, while mAb114 to 11 percent.

Never before has this success rate been achieved by working on the ground to combat Ebola. Although this does not mean that there is a complete cure for the disease, it does provide new treatment opportunities to reduce mortality rates and opens a thread of hope to end this epidemic.

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