Congo Finds Possible Cure For Ebola Virus

Ebola, as stated by webMD.com, is a rare but deadly virus that causes fever, body aches, diarrhea, and sometimes bleeding inside and outside the body. As this virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. It ultimately then causes the levels of blood-clotting cells to drop which  leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding. The disease was known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever but is now referred to as Ebola virus.

A vast Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2013 to 2016 became the world’s largest ever when it spread through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and killed more than 11,300 people. Ebola has been spreading in eastern Congo since August 2018 in an outbreak that has now killed at least 1,800 people. Efforts to control it have been hampered by militia violence and some local resistance to outside help.

Finding a cure for the disease has been a top global priority for the world health body, and recent reports shows good news in that light. The Congo treatment trial, which began in November last year, is being carried out by an international research group coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Congo Finds Possible cure For Ebola Virus

Recently, reports published on Reuters, as well as other news media say that  scientists are a step closer to being able to cure the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever after two experimental drugs showed survival rates of as much as 90% in a clinical trial in Congo.

The news is that two experimental drugs – an antibody cocktail called REGN-EB3 developed by Regeneron (REGN.O) and a monoclonal antibody called mAb114 – will now be offered to all patients infected with the viral disease in an ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The drugs showed “clearly better” results, according to U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in a trial of four potential treatments being conducted during the 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 (GILD.O) – and those products will be now dropped, said Anthony Fauci, one of the researchers co-leading the trial.

The agency said that of the patients who were brought into treatment centers with low levels of virus detected in their blood, 94% who got REGN-EB3 and 89% on mAb114 survived. Some 681 patients at four separate treatment centers in Congo have already been enrolled in the Congo treatment clinical trial, Fauci said. The study aims to enroll a total of 725.

The two promising drugs are made from Ebola antibodies – a protein produced by the immune system to defend against infection. Regeneron’s product is a cocktail of three Ebola antibodies, while mAb114 is a single antibody developed by scientists at NIAID.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program, said the trial’s positive findings were encouraging but would not be enough on their own to bring the epidemic to an end. Reuters.

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