A new drug trial has revealed that Ebola may soon become ‘preventable and treatable’, due to 2 new drugs that allow 90% of patients to survive, if treated early.
WHAT IS EBOLA
Ebola is a virus that causes fever, weakness and muscle pain, which progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding. It is spread through direct contact with someone who has the infection, and usually leads to death through dehydration or organ failure.
Doctors and scientists have been working to fight against Ebola for decades, and the new drugs are a significant turning point.
NEW DRUG TRIAL
Various drugs were recently trialled on patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where there has been a major outbreak of Ebola. The trial was conducted by an international research group co-ordinated by the World Health Organization. The most effective drugs showed a 90% survival rate when used early on. These drugs will now be used to treat all patients in the DRC.
HOW DO THE DRUGS WORK?
The new drugs are called REGN-EB3 and mAb114. They use something called antibodies to attack the Ebola virus, meaning it can no longer impact human cells. By attacking the Ebola virus, they are the first drugs that have such a significant chance of decreasing the risk of death.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Ebola has caused many deaths in Africa, but Dr Fauci (who is associated with the recent drug trial) hopes that the new drugs will make patients feel “more comfortable about seeking care early.” These drugs are expected to save many lives. On Tuesday, two people cured of Ebola using the new drugs were released from a treatment centre in the DRC and reunited with their families.