Ebola drugs found to increase survival rates

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The test of the drugs started in November as a part of the emergency response to the outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

According to the early data of the trial, 49% of the patients who were given ZMapp did not survive, as did 53% of those who received remdesivir.

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who cosponsored the trial said the results are "very good news" for the fight against Ebola.

REGN-EB3, mAb114 and Zmapp are monoclonal antibodies that bind to glycoprotein on the Ebola virus and neutralize its ability to infect other cells.

These rates were far enough below those of the two other treatments - including ZMapp, first tested in the 2014 West Africa outbreak - that scientists made a decision to end the trial early.

The two monoclonal antibodies outperformed Mapp's ZMapp and Gilead's remdesivir in the trial, with REGN-EB3 eliciting the lowest overall death rate - at 29% - while mAb114 achieved a mortality rate of 34%.

The latest trial demonstrates 'you can dramatically diminish the mortality, ' said Mr Fauci, 'but getting rid of the Ebola virus becomes a case of prevention, of how you could prevent this from spreading.

The co-sponsors of the Ebola therapeutics trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have announced advances that will bring patients a better chance of survival.

As a result of their August 9 review, the DSMB recommended that the study be stopped and that all future patients be randomized to receive either REGN-EB3 or mAb114 in what is being considered an extension phase of the study.

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When the researchers took a deeper look at how patients fared when they seek treatment early in the disease progression, the drugs looked promising.

'The best way to end the outbreak is with a good vaccine, as well as to do good contact tracing, isolation, and then, ultimately, treatment'.

The trial is being carried out by an worldwide research consortium coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the global health arm of the United Nations, which last month declared the current outbreak a global health emergency.

How serious is the DR Congo outbreak?

"We are still seeing too many people stay away from Ebola treatment units, too many people not coming to hospitals [who] are not being found in time to benefit from these therapies", he added.

Just under a month ago, the Ebola outbreak in Congo was declared a global health emergency.

But it is dwarfed by the West African epidemic of 2014-16, which affected 28,616 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

However, attempts to contain the latest outbreak are proving hard. Efforts to control it have been hampered by militia violence and some local resistance to outside help.

Earlier this month, three Congolese doctors were arrested in DR Congo over the killing of a World Health Organization medic. In one incident, family members assaulted health workers who were overseeing the burial of their relative.

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