SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 14 – New drugs cured two Ebola patients in Congo, which shows that people can recover from the highly lethal disease if it’s diagnosed and treated early, doctors say.
“These cases were detected very quickly. The husband was infected, he was at home for 10 days and his wife and son were infected,” Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director of Congo’s National Institute for Biomedical Research, said at a press conference, the Associated Press reported.
“As soon as the response teams detected these cases, they brought them here to the treatment center. We gave them treatment that is effective and here in a short time both are cured,” Muyembe said.
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which co-sponsored the trial, said the results are “very good news” for the fight against Ebola.
The two drugs are antibodies that block Ebola and “are now be used to treat Ebola patients because, according to the studies and the results we obtained in the lab, these are the two drugs that are effective,” Muyembe said, the AP.
Earlier this week, preliminary results from two trials in Congo suggested that the two drugs significantly reduced the risk of death from Ebola.
According to the BBC, Ebola may soon be a “preventable and treatable” disease after a trial of the two drugs showed significantly improved survival rates, scientists have said.
Four drugs were trialled on patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is a major outbreak of the virus.
More than 90% of infected people can survive if treated early with the most effective drugs, the research showed.
The drugs will now be used to treat all patients with the disease in DR Congo, according to health officials.
The drugs, named REGN-EB3 and mAb114, work by attacking the Ebola virus with antibodies, neutralising its impact on human cells.
They are the “first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality” for Ebola patients, said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.
The drug mAb114 was developed using antibodies harvested from survivors of Ebola while REGN-EB3 comes from antibodies generated within mice infected with the disease.
Ebola has killed more than 1,800 people in DR Congo in the past year.
Two other treatments, called ZMapp and Remdesivir, have been dropped from trials as they were found to be less effective.