Congo starts first-ever trial testing Ebola drugs

DAKAR, Senegal — Congo has begun the first-ever trial to test the effectiveness and safety of four experimental Ebola drugs, the first time scientists have directly compared such treatments, the World Health Organization said Monday.

The U.N. health agency described the multi-drug trial as "a giant step" that would "bring clarity about what works best."

"While our focus remains on bringing this outbreak to an end, the launch of the randomized control trial in DRC (Congo) is an important step toward finally finding an Ebola treatment that will save lives," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in the North Kivu province in August, four therapeutic drugs have been used to treat patients, namely mAb 114, ZMapp, Remdesivir and Regeneron, according to Congo's Health Ministry.

To date, more than 160 people have been treated with these experimental drugs. Patients won't be treated much differently than before, but scientists will now have a clinical trial framework to collect data on the three antibody treatments and the antiviral.

Congo's Health Ministry said the clinical trial began last week in Beni with Zmapp, mAb 114 and Remdesivir. The test could be extended to other sites and include the fourth medicine, it said. The number of patients who participate "will depend on the evolution of the epidemic and the willingness of patients to participate."

Congo, with poor infrastructure, presents a difficult environment for administering these treatments. ZMapp is difficult to use; it takes three infusions, given over hours. If patients are treated with Remdesivir, their liver function must be analyzed regularly.

Because the data collected in the North Kivu epidemic is unlikely to be sufficient for a complete study, the ministry said that the clinical trial may extend over a five-year period to cover several Ebola outbreaks in several countries.

So far in the current outbreak in Congo, there have been 365 confirmed Ebola cases with 189 deaths, according to figures provided by the health ministry Sunday.

"Our country is struck with Ebola outbreaks too often, which also means we have unique expertise in combatting it," said Congo's Minister of Health Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga. "These trials will contribute to building that knowledge, while we continue to respond on every front to bring the current outbreak to an end."

This is Congo's tenth outbreak since the virus was identified there in 1976. The outbreak has been plagued by security problems, with health workers attacked by rebels in districts where the virus has been spreading.

___

AP medical writer Maria Cheng in London contributed to this report.

Peaple also read these

Egypt approves law to govern popular ride-hailing...

May 7, 2018

Egypt's parliament has approved a law to govern popular ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem after the...

Autopsy on Egyptian monk shows signs of poisoning

Sep 27, 2018

Autopsy on Egyptian monk who had until recently served at monastery where the abbot was killed...

Clashes erupt as Sudanese march on presidential...

Dec 25, 2018

Video clips posted online show police in Sudan using tear gas and firing in the air to disperse...

7 Kenyan doctors jailed for not ending strike

Feb 13, 2017

Seven Kenyan doctors who are officials of the medics union were jailed Monday for failing to call...

Desperate herders lose animals, hope amid drought...

Mar 3, 2017

Desperate herders lose animals, hope amid drought in Kenya as region faces famine risk

About Us

Delivering news from all over the globe, StarJournal keeps you abreast with the greatest minds in science, be it researchers, theorists or even popularizers.

Contact us: sales[at]starjournals.com

Subscribe Now!