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Congo approves clinical trials for Ebola treatments

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Congolese authorities have approved clinical trials for four experimental Ebola treatments, enabling researchers to gather valuable data…

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Congolese authorities have approved clinical trials for four experimental Ebola treatments, enabling researchers to gather valuable data on their effectiveness, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

PHIL PHOTO: A physician cares for a patient in an isolation cube at the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) Treatment Center in Beni, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, September 6, 201

8. REUTERS / Fiston Mahamba / File Photo

Healthcare Professionals has already administered therapeutic treatments to more than 150 Ebola patients since August in an effort to contain the worst of the DRC outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever since 1976.

However, so far, doctors have decided which treatment should be used on a case-by-case basis. In the clinical trial, the choice of treatment will now be randomized.

Treatment will still be free, the Ministry added in a statement.

“Precious information on the efficacy of the treatments obtained during the clinical trial will enable the development of these treatments on a larger scale to save more lives,” the Ministry said.

The four treatments are mAb114, developed by the US government; ZMapp, an intravenous treatment made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical; Remdesivir made by Gilead Sciences; and Regeneron REGN-EB3.

From last weekend, 151 patients had one of the four drugs. Of the 76 had recovered, 44 had died and 31 were still in hospital – a mortality rate of 37 percent.

On the other hand, mortality was close to 80 percent among those who did not receive treatment.

The Ministry said that the data from the current outbreak would probably not be sufficient to make definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of the treatments and that the trials could continue in future outbreaks.

Despite the use of the treatments and an experimental vaccine manufactured by Merck, the authorities have fought to contain the outbreak due to widespread violent crime in eastern Congo and community resistance to health workers.

At least 228 people are believed to have died, and the World Health Organization said last week that it expects the outbreak to last for at least another six months.

Reporting of Giulia Paravicini; Editing Aaron Ross

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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