Countering previous tests conducted in low doses, a study published by INSERM, France’s Jeremie Guedj and international colleagues concluded that high doses of the antiviral favipiravir may ward off Ebola’s deadly capabilities.
Tests were undertaken on 26 non-human primates infected with Ebola. Researchers tracked them for 21 days, leaving 13 untreated and 13 treated with favipiravir beginning two days before Ebola infection. It was administered thereafter twice daily at 100, 150 or 180 milligrams/kilograms.
Within 10 days, all animals left untreated and those treated with just 100 mg/kg per day were dead. Of those treated with 150 mg/kg, two out of five survived, while three out of five treated with 180 mg/kg survived the full 21 days.
“These results, together with previous data collected on tolerance and pharmacokinetics in both non-human primates and humans support the evaluation of high doses of favipiravir for future human intervention in particular for contact cases,” the authors said.
The study, published in PLOS Medicine, concluded that the drug also inhibited viral replication. Unfortunately, the results have limited applicability to humans. After all, most people are only treated after Ebola has already been introduced into the system for several days. Further, the model is clearly lethal.