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November 13, 2018

Health officials to launch new Ebola drug trial

Health officials are set to begin a new clinical trial to test the abilities of experimental therapies to improve the chances of survival of  Ebola patients.

Health officials are set to begin a new clinical trial to test the abilities of experimental therapies to improve the survival chances of Ebola patients.

The trial comes in the wake of the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Officials are working under the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) to outline the trial’s protocol.

The efficacy of three different antibody treatments and one antiviral drug will be compared as part of the randomised, controlled study.

Nongovernmental organisations Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Alima have been using the four drug therapies to treat Ebola for weeks.

“We need to start randomising. We need to start generating evidence and having a harmonised way of collecting data.”

The therapies consist of antiviral drug remdesivir, as well as three monoclonal antibodies of ZMapp, REGN 3470-3471-3479 and mAb114.

ZMapp and REGN 3470-3471-3479 are developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical and Regeneron respectively, while the US National Institutes of Health and Congo’s National Institute of Biomedical Research are working on the mAb114 therapy.

Congo’s National Institute of Biomedical Research will sponsor the trial, which is expected to begin this month.

MSF medical department strategic adviser Dr Annick Antierens was quoted by statnews.com as saying: “We need to start randomising. We need to start generating evidence and having a harmonised way of collecting data.”

As of 9 November 2018, 139 Ebola patients had received one of the four drugs.

The latest outbreak of Ebola in Congo started in July this year, with a total of 329 confirmed and probable cases and 205 deaths reported so far. It is the third largest Eblola epidemic recorded.

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