Two New Treatments Show Promise Against Ebola Virus in Congo

In a major breakthrough, two experimental therapies have been proven to be effective against Ebola — with almost 90 percent of newly infected patients being cured.

These experimental treatments will now be offered to patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is currently witnessing the second worst outbreak in the world.

In a report by The New York Times, Dr Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who also joined the WHO and the Congolese government in making the announcement, said, “Offering patients a real cure may contribute to them feeling more comfortable about seeking care early.”

Among other challenges, fear of the virus and mistrust of the health workers have been barriers in containing the virus. Lack of trust means people don’t approach the authorities on time. By the time a patient is isolated, he/she has already come in contact with several people.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Welcome Trust and a co-chair of a W.H.O. committee evaluating Ebola therapeutics, said,

"“The more we can learn about these two treatments, the closer we can get to turning Ebola from a terrifying disease to one that is preventable and treatable.”" - Dr Jeremy Farrar

With over 2500 people having contracted the virus in Congo during the new outbreak, and almost 1700 killed, the World Health Organisation has declared Ebola a global health emergency.

The treatments, called REGN-EB3 and mAB-114 are both ‘cocktails of monoclonal antibodies that are infused into the blood”, The New York Times reports. These were among four that were tested in a trial conducted on around 700 patients since November.

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