For many years, Ebola has been feared as one of the most deadly and incurable diseases on the planet, but researchers are finally making some progress in developing treatments, and possibly even a cure for the mysterious illness.
While Ebola is rare in much of the world, it has caused incredible suffering in many parts of Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, over 1,800 people died from the disease in the past year.
However, that may soon begin to change. Researchers in the Democratic Republic of Congo were extremely impressed with the preliminary results of a recent clinical trial for experimental Ebola drugs. The results were so unprecedented that the team stopped the trial and are now going to be using the drug to treat patients in the field directly.
The team’s findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, and showed some of the most promising results ever from an Ebola drug trial.
There were four different drugs tested in the trial, but the most promising treatments were developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the National Institute of Health. Both of the drugs work in similar ways, by using antibodies to block the virus. These results are preliminary, and the success rates may even improve as the development of the drug advances. Researchers also noted that it is important to treat the patients as early as possible.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) August 13, 2019
According to Anthony Fauci, a director with the National Institute of Health, 30% of those infected still died even after taking the experimental drugs, but if they were treated early the mortality rate was just 6% with the Regeneron drug and 11% with the NIH treatment.
These numbers are better than an older experimental drug called ZMapp, which had a mortality rate of 24%, even when patients were treated earlier.
Ebola is fatal in most cases. According to Michael Ryan of the World Health Organization, roughly 75% of people who contract the disease die if they do not receive care quickly.
Sabue Mulangu, an infectious-disease researcher at the DRC National Institute for Biomedical Research who was involved with the project, said that this new treatment could save many lives.
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Ebola can no longer be called an incurable disease, scientists have said, after two of four drugs being trialled in the major outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were found to have significantly reduced the death rate https://t.co/sN4S2cR6do pic.twitter.com/AZ3gwhNE3e
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“Now we will be able to stress to people that more than 90% of people survive if they come into the (Ebola treatment unit) early and get this treatment,” Mulangu told Nature.
The news of this revolutionary treatment could not have come at a better time. Just last month, the World Health Organization declared that the outbreak in the Congo was an “international health emergency.”
Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the general director of the DRC National Institute for Biomedical Research, was bold enough to suggest that a cure to this terrifying disease could be a possibility.
Muyembe told The Guardian that “From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable.”
When it's all said and done. The cure for Ebola will rest on this man's shoulder. His genius has fought Ebola for over 40 years. Yet, we will ascribe the cure to some super powers down the road as its the norm. This man pioneered it all. He is Prof Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum. pic.twitter.com/uhvEamGA2K
— Femi Afolayan (@ojayfemi) August 13, 2019