New Ebola Drug Breakthrough Has Promising '90% Survival Rate'

With the Ebola virus killing over 1,800 people in the DRC, the drugs are a welcome assistance.

The Ebola virus has been a huge issue in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), especially since August last year when the virus spread rapidly. 

Now, researchers have found that two drugs they have been trialling and testing offer a 90% rate of survival to Ebola sufferers if treated early on. 

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This would mean that the virus could become treatable and preventable. A huge relief. 

What are these drugs?

Four drugs have been trialled on patients suffering from the Ebola virus, with two of these showing very clear signs of improving patients' chances of survival. 

The two most effective drugs have been kept, and the two others (ZMapp and Remdesivir) have been dropped from the trial as they weren't showing strong enough signs of treatment. 

New Ebola Drug Breakthrough Has Promising '90% Survival Rate'
Ebola isolation. Source: bhossfelt/Pixabay

The two 'good' drugs are REGN-EB3 and mAb114. They work by targeting and attacking the Ebola virus with antibodies taken from patients who have survived from Ebola, which then neutralizes its impact on the human cells. 

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which co-sponsored the trial, were pleased with the results. 

NIAID director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that "these are the first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality."

What happened when the drugs were trialled?

The trial, which began in November 2018, tested the four drugs on roughly 700 Ebola patients. The results of the first 500 patients are now known and clearly show which drugs work best.

To show the contrast between the two well-functioning drugs and the two lesser ones, when REGN-EB3 was used, 29% of patients tested died, and with mAb114 34% died.

In contrast, 49% died when on ZMapp, and 53% on Remdesivir.

New Ebola Drug Breakthrough Has Promising '90% Survival Rate'
Democractic Republic of the Congo in Africa. Source: TUBS/Wikimedia Commons

When patients started the trial early on in the illness, 94% survived when on REGN-EB3, and 89% with mAb114. 

This is a huge success medically speaking. 

Even though the disease will most likely never be eradicated, now there is a hopeful and positive turn in being able to treat it effectively, and perhaps even prevent it. 

It certainly is a strong urge for people who contract the virus early on to seek medical help quickly. 

A little recap on what Ebola is.

When caught, the Ebola virus causes fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat. 

It moves onto vomiting, diarrhoea, and internal and external bleeding. 

Patients typically die from dehydration and organ failure. 

These two new drugs could hugely impact the lives of many people in the DRC, as well as their families and close ones. 

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