DR Congo: Ebola Drugs Show ‘90% Survival Rate’ In Test Trial

The dreaded Ebola Virus may soon be a “preventable and treatable” disease after a trial of two drugs showed significantly improved survival rates, scientists have said.

Four drugs were trialed on patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is a major outbreak of the virus.

Ebola outbreak in eastern DR Congo began in August last year and is the biggest of the 10 to hit the country since 1976, when the virus was first discovered.

More than 90 percent of infected people can survive if treated early with the most effective drugs, the research showed BBC said.

The drugs will now be used to treat all patients with the disease in DR Congo, according to health officials.

On Tuesday, two people cured of Ebola using the experimental drugs were released from a treatment center in Goma, eastern DR Congo, and reunited with their families.

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which co-sponsored the trial, said the results are “very good news” for the fight against Ebola.

The drugs, named REGN-EB3 and mAb114, work by attacking the Ebola virus with antibodies, neutralising its impact on human cells.

The survival rate among patients with low levels of the virus in their blood was as high as 94% when they were given REGN-EB3, and 89% when on mAb114, the agency said.

The findings mean health authorities can "stress to people that more than 90% of people survive" if they are treated early, said Sabue Mulangu, an infectious-disease researcher who worked on the trial.

Hailing the success of the study, Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity, said the treatments would "undoubtedly save lives".

The findings, Mr Farrar said, indicate scientists are getting closer to turning Ebola into a "preventable and treatable" disease.

"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 added.

A sense that Ebola is incurable, paired with widespread mistrust of medical workers in the DR Congo, has hampered efforts to stop the spread of the disease.


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