EBOLA BREAKTHROUGH: New drug 'Zmapp' has remarkable success on test subjects
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/1/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
In the midst of widespread horror, hope: A treatment for the deadly Ebola virus may have finally been found. Scientists are reporting a 100 percent cure rate for monkeys afflicted with Ebola using the experimental drug Zmapp. Currently being used to treat infected patients, including British nurse William Pooley, it's the most encouraging news since the disease began its most recent and virulent outbreak in West Africa this March.
The experimental drug ZMapp has shown remarkable success in treating those stricken with the Ebola virus.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's not yet time to break out congratulations just yet. Health experts remain unsure how effective the treatment was because it is impossible to trial in humans before an outbreak.
A new study has found that 18 rhesus monkeys infected with Ebola have made a complete recovery after being given ZMapp. Three animals which were left untreated became seriously ill and died.
Experts said the results were "extremely encouraging" and "better than expected." Professor Peter Piot, the scientist who discovered Ebola in 1976 said it was vital to start clinical trials immediately.
"This well designed trial in non-human primates provides the most convincing evidence to date that ZMapp may be an effective treatment of Ebola infection in humans," Piot, now director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says.
"It is now critical that human trials start as soon as possible . I never thought that 40 years after I encountered the first Ebola outbreak, this disease would still be taking lives on such a devastating scale."
ZMapp is a blend of three laboratory-made antibodies designed to neutralize the virus.
A U.S. doctor and a nurse were given the drug after they were infected with Ebola while working in Liberia. Both have recovered and have been released into the general population.
It is not yet known whether they were saved by the drug or just lucky. About 45 percent of those infected in the current outbreak have survived without treatment. It must be noted that at least two other patients treated with ZMapp have died, possibly because help arrived too late.
A team of scientists led by Dr. Gary Kobinger, from the Public Health Agency of Canada, wrote: "ZMapp exceeds the efficacy of any other therapeutics described so far, and results warrant further development of this cocktail for clinical use.
"We hope that initial safety testing in humans will be undertaken soon, preferably within the next few months, to enable the compassionate use of ZMapp as soon as possible."
The breakthrough follows warnings from the World Health Organization that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could eventually claim more than 20,000 victims.
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