University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) researchers are providing care to Ebola patients, monitoring survivors from the 2014 outbreak and testing the experimental drug remdesivir for emergency treatment.
UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine has been studying Ebola survivors in Liberia since 2014, as a means of learning more about the treatment of acute infection, lingering clinical complications, and viral persistence.
There is also an ongoing effort to explore the National Institutes of Health-funded study of remdesivir, a new experimental antiviral drug created by Gilead Sciences Inc., in men who have evidence of Ebola virus in their semen.
Remdesivir has not been proven safe or effective, authors said, and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other regulatory body worldwide for commercial use. The FDA has approved it, however, for compassionate use, defined as treatment of severely ill patients when no approved therapies are available.
Officials estimate Ebola virus’ fatality rate for humans is around 50 percent, noting the world’s population is now highly mobile and the threat of diseases like Ebola quickly spreading across the globe is a significant public health concern.
Investigators said a better understanding of emerging viruses and effective new antiviral drugs are both urgently needed to respond to Ebola outbreaks and other emerging pandemic threats rapidly.