This week, however, two Ebola victims were reportedly ‘cured’ following treatment from two new drugs that were being tested in the DRC.
The two drugs are called REGN-EB3 and mAb114. These two were found to be effective. According to reports, 94% of victims treated with one of these drugs recovered from the disease.
Such reports might bring the medical community closer to developing a successful treatment plan for this disease, which has caused around 1,900 deaths since last year in the DRC.
Hopeful Prospects for Ebola Treatment
A clinical trial for the new treatment had 681 random participants at four Ebola centers began in November.
Participants were given four drugs during the trial. The mortality rate of the patients given the two more effective drugs was significantly lower; REGN-EB3’s was 29%, and mAb114’s was 34%.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID (National Insititute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) provided insight. He said the mortality rate was lower if treatment began sooner. 6% and 11% for REGN-EB3 and mAb114 respectively.
The other two drugs had higher mortality rates. The rate was 49% for ZMapp and 53% for Remdesivir.
For Stewart Schneller, Ph.D., professor at Auburn University in Alabama, this is a massive step for the medical community seeking Ebola treatment. He and his colleagues search for drugs and medications for Ebola and other infectious diseases. The success of REGN-EB3 and mAb114 is a promising step in the right direction. It can aid in controlling future outbreaks in the region of the DRC in Africa.
The results aforementioned will be further tested. The participants will be assigned randomly to the more effective drugs to study, which is the best course of treatment.
Additionally, REGN-EB3 and mAb114 will be available for all Ebola victims in DRC. ZMapp and Remdisivir will no longer be available.
The remaining hurdles despite successful ‘cure’
Despite the development of these new drugs, the Ebola problem is still unsolved. The two patients declared ‘cured’ this week were the first of their kind. This shows how deadly and difficult to contain this disease is.
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak in the DRC a global health emergency. From February to July this year, only $49 million was received from international donors as aid, which is around half the amount required.
Other than monetary respite, vaccines to prevent the contraction of this disease are needed. Efforts to vaccinate people are now in process. A vaccine made by Merck & co. is used, which is 97.5% effective. However, a shortage of the vaccine might lead to the need of another vaccine by Johnson & Johnson. It will have to be procured and used.
Adequate health care centers are not available in the DRC either.
The virus can become resistant to new drugs; hence, research and development need to be consistently done to tackle this disease.