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Friday, March 5th, 2021

Researchers begin Ebola trials in Democratic Republic of the Congo

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A team of international researchers began enrolling confirmed Ebola patients this week for clinical trial testing of multiple therapies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Organized by a research consortium coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the trials are in response to the DRC’s 10th outbreak of Ebola — an outbreak that has led to 240 deaths as of Nov. 25, 2018. Patients will be provided with care and treated with one of three investigational drugs, as researchers compare patient mortality rates between them. A control group will receive the investigational monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment ZMapp. Others will include mAb114 and remdesivir.

“Combating Ebola requires a comprehensive response that draws on the strengths of all areas of public health. Biomedical research can lead to critical new tools, such as potentially life-saving therapies,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. “Through scientifically and ethically sound clinical trials, we hope to efficiently and definitively establish the safety and efficacy of these investigational Ebola treatments, offering new ways to save lives.”

The hope is to enroll 112 patients per arm, and patients will return to the clinic around two months after treatment for check-ups and blood sampling. Researchers hope to expand the trial to additional treatment centers eventually. All treatments will have varying levels of data supporting their use. However, none are currently approved for treating Ebola. Of these, ZMapp remains the only one previously treated in a randomized, controlled trial.