Ebola experimental drugs proves potent

Maxwell Awumah, GNA

Ho, Aug 14, GNA – Two
of four Ebola experimental drugs being tested in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) showed survival rates of as much as 90 per cent.

One is REGN-EB3 –
developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and the second is mAb114 – developed by
Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Scientist had
therefore announced that Ebola could no longer be referred to as an incurable
disease, according to a WHO release, copied to the Ghana News Agency.

It said the two
experimental drugs, both antibodies that block the virus, will be the only
drugs offered to future Ebola patients and all Ebola-infected patients in the
DRC, moving forward.

The WHO and the US
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), co-sponsors of
the trial, said early results of the drug trial showed clearly better
results,  which is very good news.

This puts an end to
the trial, which started in the DRC last November and a stop to the use of
ZMapp and Remdesivir, the two other trial drugs.

Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Director-General of the Institute National de Recherche
Biomédicale in DRC, who led the trial said “From now on, we will no longer
say that Ebola is incurable.”

“These advances will
help save thousands of lives.”

According to Dr.
Anthony Fauci, the Director of the US NIAID, 49 per cent of the patients on
ZMapp and 53 per cent of those on Remdesivir died during the trial.

In comparison,
REGN-EB3 had the lowest overall death rate, at 29 per cent, and mAb114 had a
mortality rate of 34 per cent.

It said the results
were even more impressive for people, who sought early treatment before the
spread of the virus in their bloodstream – 94 per cent of those who got
REGN-EB3 survived and 89 per cent of those on mAb114 survived in comparison
with a two-third survival rate of the patient, who got Remdesivir and almost
three-quarter of those on ZMapp.

Health officials are
hopeful that this news will encourage more people to seek care as soon as
symptoms of Ebola appear.

Dr Michael Ryan of
the WHO’s emergencies program said on average, people who fall ill do not seek
medical care for four days, thereby reducing their chances of survival.

This has negatively
impacted family members and communities, further deterring them from seeking
swift medical care. But with the current survival rate at over 90 per cent, it
is easier to build trust among the population and people will be encouraged to
turn up at treatment centres on time.