Two new Ebola drugs may put an end to the unforgivable curse. Until yesterday, there was no sugarcoating when it came to Ebola: it meant excruciating, imminent death. Now, the world looks at two new drugs with awe and hope.
The World Health Organization together with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB) announced a few hours ago that two new Ebola drugs proved efficient in the latest clinical trials.
So efficient, in fact, that the researchers will make the innovative treatments available to anyone infected with the virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Ebola drugs that may put an end to this unforgivable curse led to a 90% survival rate in patients who received the treatment in a short timeframe after the infection, when the levels of the virus in their blood was low.
REGN-EB3 and mAB114 – A New Hope
The clinical trial testing the efficiency of the REGN-EB3 and mAB114 Ebola drugs launched in November last year. Today’s results are more than promising. They are giving people new hope and a real chance to survival, as emphasized by the Nature report.
As many of us remember, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo was dire. The outbreak in the eastern part of the country was one of the worst ever, with 2,800 people infected with the Ebola virus and 1,900 confirmed deaths.
What was even more catastrophic was the war zone in the area that slowed down all efforts to put a frein to the virus’s spreadind.
But it seems that humankind is slowly but steadily winning this battle against evil. These two new Ebola drugs are significantly more efficient when administered on time in comparison to other drugs tested before.
Are These Two Ebola Drugs the Chosen Ones?
Identified in 1976 in two different places – South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo – Ebola (Ebola hemorrhagic fever) has a dramatic death toll of tens of thousands of people and thousands of outbreaks.
One of the most disastrous epidemic to date was the one occuring in between December 2013 and January 2016 in West Africa. By comparison, the recent outbreak in DRC was the second-worst humankind has ever experienced.
Until now, there was no specific treatment available. Since yesterday, however, the two new Ebola drugs are our new beacons of hope.
- The REGN-EB3 is a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies; the drug was developed by a pharmaceutical company in New York;
- The mAB114 drug comes from a single antibody collected from the blood of an Ebola survivor.
The person lived to tell the story of an Ebola outbreak in the DRC back in 1995 and this information alone is enough to understand the breakthrough the medical world achieved today.
The shock and awe of this discovery is topped by the fact that researchers managed to test and analyze these drugs amid unbearable chaos and violence.
The spectre of Ebola, a veritable harbinger of death, has haunted Africa and put the fear of God in the hearts of the Western world. When this horseman of Apocalypse reached the United States not long ago, the only question one could ask was “What Now?”
Now, there is hope. At last!
What Comes Next with These Ebola Drugs?
The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (and in Africa, in general) will not difuse today, but the news regarding the new Ebola drugs may take the edge off Ebola’s reign of terror.
Some of the most important factors that slowed down Ebola research in the area are the population’s inherent fear of the virus and its mistrust in health workers. Most often than not, people hid their infected family members and usually wait for up to a week to seek medical care from the moment they notice the first infection symptoms.
Now, the more the word spreads that Ebola might find a cure and, one day, a vaccine to put it to sleep for good, health specialists’ hope is that more and more people will openly seek help.
As Sabue Mulangu, an infectious-disease researcher at the INRB said,
Now we will be able to stress to people that more than 90% of people survive if they come into the Ebola treatment clinics early and get this treatment.
The data quality of the clinical trial – ran in exceptionally adverse conditions – is “exceptional,” according to the team.
A Global Emergency a Few Weeks Ago, a Curable Disease Today
The World Health Organization declared Ebola an “International Emergency” a few weeks ago. Today, as those responsible for the clinical trials say, Ebola is no longer an incurable disease. The Avada Kedavra curse is lifted.
While being hopeful is more than alright, researchers know that they have plenty of work ahead of them.
First, they have to study each the two new Ebola drugs individually, to understand which one works best in which conditions and settings.
Secondly, we should not forget that both drugs worked in the early stages of the infection. Can science find a cure for those showing higher levels of the virus in their blood?
These are questions that need answers in the immediate future. We are confident that science will find them and many more.
What Do these Ebola Drugs Promise?
According to Jacques Muyembe, one of the drug clinical trial overseers and the director of Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in DRC, the Ebola drugs mean hope. Pure and simple.
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.
Compare this with last years’ status quo, when people were looking at their loved ones going to an Ebola center and come out dead.
Will be Ebola curable? Will it become, if not an extinct disease due to a new and revolutionary vaccine, at least a manageable one? Time will tell.
Until then, let’s all take a big breath and give thanks to all those brave people out there who helped humankind take one more step out of the darkness. Here’s looking at you, bubonic plague, cholera, Dengue fever, HPS, etc.! Your days of terror will be over soon!
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