According to The Guardian, scientists say that Ebola is now curable after human drug trials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo found that two drugs notably reduced death rates. ZMapp and Remdesivir are no longer being used to treat the disease after two monoclonal antibodies were found to have a much larger effect on the virus.
“From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable,” said Prof Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the director general of the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in DRC. tTe institute oversaw the trial. “These advances will help save thousands of lives,” he continued.
The trials came in reaction to a year-long outbreak of Ebola in the DRC in which there were 2,800 cases of people with the illness. The primary issue was that many people were resistant to getting treated. This could have been caused by the low survival rate- 70% of those infected in the republic died. Muyembe said that many people saw others get treated and then die soon after.
“Now that 90% of their patients can go into the treatment centre and come out completely cured, they will start believing it and building trust in the population and community,” he said.
The mortality rate of people treated with ZMapp in the trial was 49% while the rate with Remdesivir was 53%. A monoclonal drug produced by Regeneron had a 29% mortality rate and a monoclonal antibody produced by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics had a 34% mortality rate.
When people sought treatment as soon as possible after becoming sick, their chances of being cured improved significantly.
Dr. Jeremy Farr, director of Welcome and the co-chair of the WHO Ebola therapeutics group, praised the trial for saving lives.
“The more we learn about these two treatments, and how they can complement the public health response, including contact tracing and vaccination, the closer we can get to turning Ebola from a terrifying disease to one that is preventable and treatable. We won’t ever get rid of Ebola but we should be able to stop these outbreaks from turning into major national and regional epidemics,” he said.
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