Scientists are a step closer to an effective treatment for Ebola after two drugs in a clinical trial were found to significantly boost survival rates, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) cofunding the research said on Monday.
The study began in November last year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), but its current phase has been halted and all future patients switched over to the treatments that have shown positive results, the NIH said in a statement.
REGN-EB3 and mAb114 “are the first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality for people with Ebola virus disease,” NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci said.
Patients who were receiving two other drugs that are being discontinued, Zmapp and remdesivir, have the option, at the discretion of their treating physician, to receive the treatments that have been shown to work.
Fauci said that the trial was designed to include 725 people, but was halted by an independent board when it had enrolled 681 people, because one of the drugs, REGN-EB3 by Regeneron, reached a critical threshold in success, while mAb114 was not far behind.
Data have so far been analyzed for 499 people from the cohort of 681.
In the group, mortality dropped to 29 percent with REGN-EB3 and with mAb114, it fell to 34 percent, said Fauci — compared with a rate of 60 to 67 percent in the general population when the disease is not treated by a drug.
The rates for Zmapp and remdesivir were 49 percent and 53 percent respectively.
REGN-EB3, mAb114 and Zmapp are monoclonal antibodies that bind to glycoprotein on the Ebola virus and neutralize its ability to infect other cells.
Fauci added that the final analysis of the data, including the patients not yet processed, would occur in late-September or early-October.
The NIH, the DR Congo health authorities and the WHO hailed the “extraordinary team of individuals who have worked under extremely difficult conditions to carry out this study,” as well as the patients and their families.
More than 1,800 people have died in the eastern region of the DR Congo since Ebola broke out there in August last year.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable