Ebola Has Finally Been Cured, Say Scientists

Scientists have said Ebola can no longer be labelled an incurable disease after success with drug trials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The DRC is struggling with a year-long outbreak of the disease; it is the second biggest ever with 2,800 cases.

Four drugs were being trialled in an attempt to combat the major outbreak and two of those were found to have dramatically increased survival rates. The trial took place in four treatment centers in towns in the country’s east, Beni, Katwa, Butembo and Mangina, where the outbreak is at its worst.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (US NIAID),  a co-sponsor of the trial, said the two monoclonal antibody drugs have had substantially more effect than the drug Zmapp, which was used during the massive Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and the drug Remdesivir.

According to The Guardian, Anthony Fauci, the director of the US NIAID, explained the overall mortality of those who were given ZMapp in the trial was 49 per cent while the mortality of those given Remdesivir was 53 per cent.

1,400 People Die In World's Second Largest Ebola Outbreak In HistoryPA Images
In comparison, a monoclonal antibody drug made by Regeneron had the lowest overall death rate at 29 per cent, while monoclonal antibody 114 made by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics had a mortality rate of 34 per cent.

The mortality rates were lower for people who arrived at treatment centres soon after becoming sick. Those given Zmapp had death rates of 24 per cent, Remdesivir had a rate of 33 per cent, Regeneron’s monoclonal anitbody had a mortality rate of 6 per cent and the drug made by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics had 11 per cent.

The monoclonal antibody drugs work to block the virus and, according to a release from the US NIAID, after reviewing the results on August 9 the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) recommended the study be stopped and that all future patients be given the Regeneron and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics drugs. The two drugs are now being used by all Ebola treatment units.

Prof. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the director general of the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in DRC, which has overseen the trial, spoke of its success.

He said:

From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable. These advances will help save thousands of lives.

Once of the biggest challenges the DRC has faced in battling Ebola is the reluctance of those who fall sick to seek treatment. Survival rates have been low as up to 70 per cent of those infected have died, The Guardian report.

1,400 People Die In World's Second Largest Ebola Outbreak In HistoryPA Images
Muyembe explained many people saw family members go into an Ebola treatment centre and come out dead but the new research will hopefully encourage more people to get help.

He continued:

Now that 90 per cent 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.

Dr. Michael Ryan from the WHO said on average those who fall ill stay at home for four days before going to a treatment centre, however this reduces their chances of survival and makes it likely the Ebola virus will be transmitted to their families.