By TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN – Two experimental treatments are raising hopes among medical staff that a cure for the deadly Ebola virus has been found.
Antibody-based treatments will now be offered to all patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The dott. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, announced the discovery together with Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director of the National Institute for Biomedical Research of the Congo and to Dr. Michael J. Ryan, director of emergency response for the World Health Organization.
Psychologically, said Dr. Muyembe, the news of a cure could change the course of this outbreak, which is the worst of the 10 that the Congo has suffered.
After years of war and genocide, the inhabitants of eastern Congo are deeply suspicious of the government in the capital, Kinshasa. The rumor has spread that Ebola does not exist or that treatment teams steal blood and body parts for witchcraft. Treatment centers have been culled or burned.
"Now we can say that 90 percent can get out of cured treatment, they will begin to believe it and develop confidence," said Dr. Muyembe. "The first to transmit this information will be the patients themselves".
Dr. Muyembe, 77, whom Dr. Fauci called a "true hero", has fought Ebola since he first appeared in what was then Zaire in 1976. (He) he is a unique and courageous leader of African health, "said Peter Piot, professor of Global Health and director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who met Muyembe in Yambuku for the first time." He remained in the Congo for decades of history very turbulent and managed to maintain scientific excellence and integrity all the time. He trained several generations of doctors, microbiologists and public health workers very necessary in the DRC. He is a model for many of us. "
The epidemic, which was declared a public health emergency last month, has now infected approximately 2,800 known patients, killing more than 1,800, according to the global health authority.
The new experimental treatments, known as REGN-EB3 and mAb-114, are both monoclonal antibody cocktails that are infused intravenously into the blood. Drugs are more effective when used as a treatment for patients with low Ebola levels in the bloodstream, according to the peer-reviewed journal Nature.
Both drugs are manufactured in the United States. REGN-EB3 is manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, N.Y. The Dr. Fauci Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, developed mAb114 and produced under license last year at Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, a Miami company.
The two new therapies were among the four tested in a study that enrolled nearly 700 patients from November. The two worked so well that one committee recommended that the other two treatments, ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, and remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences, be interrupted. All patients will now be offered Regeneron or Biotherapeutics.
Fauci paid tribute to all the people involved in the trial in four cities: Beni, Katwa, Butembo and Mangina. NGOs including International Medical Corps and Doctors Without Borders "put their lives in danger every day to care for patients in extremely difficult conditions in the area where the epidemic is occurring," he said.
Decades ago, Dr. Muyembe pioneered the use of survivors' blood serum – which contains antibodies – to save patients. The two experimental treatments that were successful last week stem in part from his original research.
When asked what he thought of during a telephone conference, Dr. Muyembe said through a translator: "I'm a bit sentimental. I had this idea a long time ago and I waited patiently. I'm very happy and can't believe it."
The Regeneron treatment – the one with the best results – was added to the clinical trial last minute only after a review by a group of experts at the WHO, the company said.
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