AUG 23, 2019 8:30 PM PDT

Are Anti-Ebola Drugs Effective?

WRITTEN BY: Nupur Srivastava

A deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) caused by the Ebola virus triggers hemorrhagic fever in humans and some monkeys. The disease is highly infectious and is transmitted via wild animals to humans and then humans to humans. The virus has killed around 18,000 people in Congo, West Africa since last year. The 2018-2019 outbreaks of EVD are highly complex and is a severe threat to public survival.

Several clinical trial studies are leading to anti-Ebola virus treatments and are administered to patients in West Africa, the United States, and Europe. The net effects of most of the treatments are unknown as most of them are still in the clinical trial phase. An experimental Ebola vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, proved highly protective against EVD in a major trial in Guinea in 2015. In the ongoing 2018-2019 Ebola outbreak in DRC, this vaccine is confirmed as safe and effective. Though vaccines are effective against Ebola virus, there are studies reported on the successful establishment of two anti-Ebola drugs during clinical trials in Africa.

The two drugs help in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus within a day of infection. Only two of the four clinical trials on experimental therapeutics that started in November 2018 are successful. The two drugs are basically the immune proteins that target the Ebola virus and prevent the entry and infection of patient's cells.

One of the drugs is mAb114, an antibody originally derived from the blood of a survivor of a 1995 Ebola outbreak in the DRC and developed by National Institutes of Health (NIH). The other drug REGN-EB3 is a combination of three monoclonal antibodies against Ebola made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, New York. REGN-EB3 is the most successful anti-Ebola drug. The three antibodies together can alter the shape and large size of the Ebola virus preventing them from infecting the cells, rather than an antibody when acting single. The mortality rate of patients treated with the drugs mAb114 and REGN-EB3 are reported as 34% and 29%, respectively.

“Now we will be able to stress to people that more than 90% of people survive if they come into the (Ebola treatment unit) early and get this treatment," says Sabue Mulangu, an infectious-disease researcher at the National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa in the DRC, and an investigator on the trial. 

The researchers will be continuing clinical trials on the two drugs, mAb114 and REGN-EB3, for regulatory approval.

Nature, ScienceDirect, Smithsonianmag, WHO

About the Author
You May Also Like
NOV 20, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
NOV 20, 2019
New diagnostic technology seeks out cancer DNA in blood
For many cancers, early detection has a tremendous impact on patient outcomes. Yet, sadly, many of the most common malignancies, like those of the stomach,
NOV 26, 2019
Immunology
NOV 26, 2019
The Immune System's Hand in Toxic Shock
While rare, toxic shock is a dangerous condition that acts fast and can be fatal. A new study identified a new target for treating toxic shock, a component
JAN 22, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 22, 2020
Biosignatures detect TB infections months before symptoms appear
What if there was a test that could detect tuberculosis six months before symptoms appear? Researchers at the University of College London think a predicti
FEB 15, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 15, 2020
FDA nod for AI-powered technology to detect strokes
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided clearance for a novel technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect strokes. The platf
FEB 19, 2020
Immunology
FEB 19, 2020
Testing the Immune Response to Ovarian Cancer Treatment
There is a new diagnostic test for the deadliest form of gynecological cancer – ovarian cancer. Better tests mean better diagnostics, and better diag
MAR 02, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
MAR 02, 2020
Bluetooth-enabled skin patch monitors diabetics' glucose levels
A new wearable skin patch could completely transform daily glucose tracking routines for diabetics. This innovation, developed by the UK-based company Nema
Loading Comments...