A new treatment of Ebola Virus Disease has been tested by the medical experts of the World Health Organisation and it worked in 90% patients already infected by the virus.
The experimental treatments will be offered to every patient in Congo DR.
The power of the antibody-based treatments have been hailed with a scientist saying, “Now we can say that 90 percent can come out of treatment cured.” This is seen as a huge landmark in the quest for a solution to Ebola. It is believed that the new development will help in the containment of the disease in the future.
The new treatment according to scientists “may contribute to them feeling more comfortable about seeking care early,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who joined the World Health Organization and the Congolese government in making the announcement.
Ebola Virus Disease, discovered over 40 years ago at the Ebola River in Congo DR (Zaire) has haunted Africa amid great international support. The worst hit nations are still Congo DR and Sierra Leone and some other parts of West Africa, who have had regular reasons to work assiduously hard to reduce the deleterious effects of the virus.
Some of the problems identified with combating the epidemic is a lack of trust in medical personnel by locals.
Many medical experts have died while trying to prevent the spread of the disease with most notable being Dr. Stella Adadevoh, a Nigerian medical practitioner who died from the virus after successfully isolating and preventing a Liberian and carrier, Patrick Sawyer from tranfering the disease.
According to the New York Times, the new experimental treatments, known as REGN-EB3 and mAb-114, are both cocktails of monoclonal antibodies that are infused intravenously into the blood.
REGN-EB3 is made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, N.Y., which also makes other antibody treatments. Dr. Fauci’s institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, developed mAb114 and licensed production last year to Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, a Miami company.
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins normally made by the immune system that clump onto the outer shells of viral particles, preventing them from entering cells. The two new treatments are synthetic versions grown under laboratory conditions.
Dr. Fauci said two companies, Ridgeback and Regeneron have a statistically insignificant difference in the potency of their drugs, hence the reason there are two treatments. In comparison with other treatments used in the past, there is a huge solution with just 6% of those who used Regeneron dying.
The death rate among untreated and unvaccinated patients in this outbreak is thought to be over 70 percent, said Dr. Michael J. Ryan, director of emergency response for the W.H.O. This is a result of local sentiments with many believing the disease is a ruse, and the blood collected is for rituals. There have been cases where the isolation centers, quarantine areas and clinics have been burnt by locals. This is largely due to a distrust of the government.
Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director of Congo’s National Institute for Biomedical Research, joined Dr. Fauci and Dr. Ryan in announcing the trial results.
Dr. Muyembe said, news of a cure could change the course of this outbreak, qnd be a huge psychological boost to the people. The latest outbreak is the worst of the 10 that Congo has endured.
“Now we can say that 90 percent can come out of treatment cured, they will start believing it and developing trust,” Dr. Muyembe said. “The first ones to transmit this information will be the patients themselves.”
“I’m a little sentimental. I had this idea a long time ago, and I’ve waited patiently for it. I’m very happy, and I can’t believe it.”
The Regeneron treatment, which had the the best results was a late addition to the clinical trial after reconsideration by a W.H.O. panel of experts, the company said.
“We’re extremely moved to know our therapy is helping save lives,” said Neil Stahl, the company’s executive vice president of research. “Our team worked tirelessly to discover, develop and produce REGN-EB3 in record time.”