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Ebola epidemic: new treatments that increase survival of early-stage virus patients to 90%

Hands with surgical gloves administering the Ebola vaccine.Image copyright
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Between September and October, final analyzes of the new drugs will be completed to confirm their efficacy against Ebola.

After more than 40 years of detecting the deadly Ebola virus, a team of scientists announced on Monday a finding of a treatment that proved 90% effective if applied early in the disease.

Until now, there was no cure with such a high success rate against this virus.

So much so, that the doctor in charge of this study defined the discovery as "Reaching his life" and as "the biggest news of the year".

First discovered in 1976, this evil has caused the deaths of about 13,000 people, most of them in the last five years.

In July, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a "International emergency" outbreak of Ebola that has swept through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since mid-2018 and has already killed about 1,800 people.

  • Which means Ebola has again been declared an international health emergency

The last time the WHO used the same level of global health emergency was during an Ebola outbreak that destroyed parts of West Africa between 2014 and 2016, killing more than 11,000 people and infecting nearly 29,000.

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A vaccine was recently received to prevent Ebola in the DRC.

In fact, there was only early treatment of specific symptoms and the option of oral rehydration therapy and intravenous fluids that may increase the chances of survival, but these never exceeded 50%.

Michael Ryan, WHO's director of emergency care, told the paper The New York Times it is believed that the mortality rate since the last outbreak is believed to exceed 70%.

Antibodies for testing

Since November 2018, a team of scientists has tested four types of antibodies to treat more than 700 people infected with the DRC virus.

An independent board of scientists followed the study and found that two of the drugs were highly effective against infection when the patient received them in the early stages of the disease.

It's about drugs mAb114, manufactured by the Rybeck Laboratory; and REGN-EB3, manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Regeron.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the United States Institute of Health (NHI, for its English acronym), one of those responsible for the study, confirmed on Monday a high survival rate of nearly 90% among infected people who took the test.

  • Doctors threaten deaths against Ebola, an epidemic that has already killed more than 1,800 people in one year

"They are the first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have shown clearly a significant reduction in mortality, " said Anthony Shoach, director of the center, according to the Efe news agency.

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The latest outbreak of Ebola in the DRC has killed about 1,800 people.

The magazine Science details that "41% of trial participants who sought early treatment and had low blood levels in Ebola", mortality rate is 6% among them received the REGN-EB3 antibody and 11% among those who received mAb114.

However, the overall mortality rate in patients with any level of infection (not only in those with low levels) was 29% with REGN-EB3 and 34% with the other treatment.

  • The highlight of the year from Time magazine who fought Ebola and died "because no one wanted to touch it"

Prior to participation, 15% of participants had been vaccinated against the virus, but data obtained so far are preliminary and do not indicate whether this condition affected the outcome, he explains. Science.

The drugs REGN-EB3 and mAb114 are now the only authorization to treat patients with Ebola in the DRC.

The final data analysis will be conducted between September and October to obtain final results.

Life achievement

"Medications neutralize the virus, symptoms disappear and the patient feels better […]"Jeananne Queak Muijbe, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa, DRC, and in charge of the study," he told the BBC.

The antibodies are given by injection and disappear after two weeks.

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Mathias Alexandre / AFP / Getty Images

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Dr Jeananne Queak Muaybe was part of the team that discovered Ebola in 1976.

"It is better if the patient arrives early, at the onset of symptoms, than if it is late," added Muebbe, who is also part of the team that discovered the virus in 1976.

The doctor explained that vaccines are only for the treatment of Ebola, but not to prevent it: "They do not protect us for life. They are not vaccinated, " he warned.

  • Ebola burials that inspired fear but saved thousands of lives

A different vaccine has recently been used to prevent the spread of Ebola in the DRC.

“The impact of new drugs [en la República Democrática del Congo] Bee be huge. Because patients see treatment centers as places of death. So if you see people coming and going in the community about the effectiveness of treatment, they will not hide their patients at home. They will take them to the hospital. It is very important to break the chain of transmission, "Muebbe said.

This is "The biggest news of the year", the doctor was hoping for hope.

What is Ebola?

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  • Ebola virus – Ebolavirus – initially causes sudden fever, weakness, muscle pain and sore throat.
  • Then, the symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding.
  • People are infected by direct contact with infected animals or with lesions of the skin, mouth and nose or blood, vomiting and bodily fluids of someone infected with Ebola.
  • Patients usually die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.

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