In a quest to curb the Ebola Virus Disease, doctors and scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been running a clinical trial of new drugs to try to combat a year-long Ebola outbreak.
Two new drugs have shown outstanding results at treating Ebola in a clinical trial, increasing survival rates for people who recently contracted the disease.
The therapies saved roughly 90 percent of the patients who were newly infected, a turning point in the fight against the virus.
A randomized trial comparing four different treatments in four towns began in November.
This trial was part of the international emergency response to the epidemic in Congo.
The trial enrolled roughly 700 patients to try four experimental drugs.
However, of the four, two treatments known as REGN-EB3 and mAb114 were considered effective.
The two drugs work by intravenously infusing a combination of monoclonal antibodies into the patient’s blood.
While the other two drugs, Remdesivir and ZMapp, will no longer be administered because they resulted in death rates up to 3 times as high as the other two drugs in patients with low viral loads.
“From now on we will no longer say that Ebola is not curable. This advance will in the future help save thousands of lives that would have had a fatal outcome in the past.” Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director general of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale, announced during a press briefing.
Ebola first emerged more than 40 years ago, and it sparked global fear after massive outbreaks in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 killed more than 11,300 people.
Smaller outbreaks have continued, including an ongoing crisis in Congo where nearly 2,800 people have been diagnosed and more than 1,800 people have died.
The World Health Organization declared Ebola a public health emergency “of international concern” this July.
Dr. Muyembe said, news of a cure could change the course of the outbreak.
Dr. Muyembe, 77, who is referred to as a “true hero” has been fighting Ebola since it first appeared in what was then Zaire in 1976.
The virologist spent 43 years of his life finding a cure for the virus which has affected his country since 1976.
Decades ago, he pioneered the use of survivors’ blood serum — which contains antibodies — in order to save patients. The two experiment treatments that proved successful last week descend in part from his original research.