The Partnership for Research on Ebola virus in Liberia (PREVAIL) on Monday opened PREVAIL IV, a treatment trial for men who have survived Ebola virus disease (EVD) but continue to have evidence of Ebola virus genetic material – RNA – in their semen.
The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in partnership with the Ministry of Health in Liberia and the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.
The study will last up to six months and will enroll 60-120 EVD survivors whose semen has evidence of Ebola virus RNA prior to their enrollment. Enrollees will receive either Gilead’s investigational drug GS-5734 or a placebo in the double-blind study.
“We know that traces of Ebola virus can sometimes remain in a recovered person’s body and can initiate a new bout of illness in the survivor or be passed onto others, which could start a new chain of infection in the community,” Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, said. “The goal of the PREVAIL IV trial is to see if the experimental drug can eliminate the traces of Ebola virus from semen in men who have survived Ebola infection. It is anticipated that this would decrease the risk of passing the virus to their sexual partners. If so, the drug would be another weapon in our arsenal against Ebola virus disease.”