Ebola survivors reunited with family in DR Congo

New Ebola Vaccine Introduced in DRC

The study began on November 20, 2018 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as part of the emergency response to an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri Provinces.

It is part of the emergency response in DRC, in collaboration with a broad alliance of partners, including the DRC's National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB), Ministry of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the United States' National Institutes of Health, Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the International Medical Corps (IMC), and other organizations.

"These advances will help save thousands of lives", he told reporters.

The drugs REGN-EB3 and mAb114, attack the Ebola virus with antibodies which neutralise its impact on human cells. During the trial, when patients with low levels of Ebola virus in their bloodstream were treated with REGN-EB3, the survival rate touched around 94%.

The Ebola patients who will take these two drugs in the future will be enrolled in an extended study to give scientists a chance to see if one works better than the other.

Some 681 patients at four separate treatment centers in Congo have already been enrolled in the Congo treatment clinical trial, Fauci said.

"It's the first example that a therapeutic intervention can have a dramatic effect on decreasing the mortality of the Ebola virus disease", Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview.

"The news today is fantastic.

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We still see too many people not being found in time for benefiting from these therapies, people residing away from treatment centers", said Mike Ryan, Assistant Director General for Emergencies at WHO.

The first is REGN-EB3, a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies against Ebola made by US firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.in New York State.

The epidemic has infected more than 2,800 people and killed at least 1,800.

With early stages of investigations in understanding the treatment and prevention of the disease, it rapidly spread to the neighbouring countries, becoming the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded in the West-African history.

"We won't ever get rid of Ebola but we should be able to stop these outbreaks from turning into major national and regional epidemics", he added.

FILE PHOTO: A health worker fills a syringe with Ebola vaccine before injecting it to a patient, in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, August 5, 2019.

In the experiment, researchers compared ZMapp to three other drugs, which included Regeneron's compound, the NIH's called mAb114 and an antiviral drug named remdesivir. The treatment is a pre-existing combination of antibodies that are proven to be helpful at treating Ebola in the earlier outbreak. This particular antibody was derived from a single antibody from the blood of a person that survived Ebola in the DRC in 1995. mAB114 was developed by NIAID.

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