Ebola outbreak: Scientists believe they've found life-saving drug according to study results

New Ebola Vaccine Introduced in DRC

Two Ebola drugs found to increase survival rates — health officials

In June this year, Tanzanian Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu warned that Tanzania was at high risk of an outbreak of Ebola after the virus killed at least two people in neighboring Uganda.

While they heralded the fact that this groundbreaking research took place in the turbulent environment of eastern Congo, researchers also acknowledged that social and political factors will complicate health workers' ability to get these new drugs to patients.

The findings mean health authorities can "stress to people that more than 90 per cent of people survive", if they are treated early, said Sabue Mulangu, an infectious-disease researcher who worked on the trial.

"The exercise will test and validate capabilities for early detection, rapid response, and effective coordination at national, state and community levels, in view of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the DRC", Richard Lako Lino, incident manager at the Ministry of Health, said in a statement on Monday.

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"From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable", said Dr Muyembe, who is the director general of Congo's National Institute for Biomedical Research, which has overseen the trial.

"These advances will help save thousands of lives", he told reporters. NGOs including International Medical Corps and Doctors Without Borders "put their lives on the line every day to care for patients in extremely hard conditions in the area where the outbreak is occurring", he said.

Dr. Muyembe, 77, whom Dr. Fauci referred to as a "true hero", has been fighting Ebola since it first appeared in what was then Zaire in 1976.

When asked about how he felt about this, he said: "I'm a little sentimental". I had this idea a long time ago, and I've waited patiently for it.

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"May the Lord be praised, I thank the Lord very much". Next, researchers will do further study to nail down how well those two compounds work.

The two drugs - an antibody cocktail called REGN-EB3 developed by Regeneron and a monoclonal antibody called mAb114 - will now be offered to all patients infected with the viral disease in the DRC. The study aims to enrol 725 people in total.

The trial initially compared four potential treatments proposed by four different companies: ZMapp, remdesivir, mAb114, and REGN-EB3, and preliminary data convinced the trial's monitoring board to stop the study and randomise all remaining patients to either mAb114 or REGN-EB3. Meanwhile, Zmapp and Remdesivir had a mortality rate of 49% and 53% respectively. Overall, the mortality rate for patients treated with mAB114 was 34 percent, and 29 percent for REGN-EB3. "A long-running outbreak like this takes its bad toll on the affected communities, and it's a sign of just how challenging it has been to control this epidemic that there have been sufficient number of patients treated for telling us more about these four drugs' efficacy", said director of the Wellcome Trust, Dr. Jeremy Farrar.

Ebola might soon be a "preventable and treatable" illness after a trial of two drugs confirmed significantly improved survival chances, scientists have mentioned.

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When the Ebola virus infects a human host, it it can kill up to 90% of the time, depending on available treatment.

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