A new study in the BMJ has identified two new drugs, mAb114 and REGN-EB3, that can dramatically cut mortality from Ebola, and both are being immediately offered to all patients in an effort to control the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) worst ever outbreak.
The trial initially compared four potential treatments proposed by four different companies: ZMapp, remdesivir, mAb114, and REGN-EB3, and preliminary data convinced the trial’s monitoring board to stop the study and randomise all remaining patients to either mAb114 or REGN-EB3.
Data from the first 499 patients showed that REGN-EB3 had met early stopping criteria, and mAb114 was ‘not far behind’. Among all patients who took the drugs, those treated with REGN-EB3 had a mortality rate of 29%, while those who got mAb-114 had a mortality rate of 34%.
Both drugs are monoclonal antibodies, proteins that bind to other proteins on the outer shell of the Ebola virus, which it uses to attach itself to human cells.
So far patients treated with ZMapp, the best known Ebola treatment candidate which was used in the west African epidemic of 2014, had a 49% mortality rate. Those treated with the antiviral remdesivir had a 53% mortality rate.
More than 75% of those who received no treatment have died in the epidemic, which has killed nearly 1,900 people out of 2,831 confirmed cases.
“From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable,” said Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, director of the DRC’s Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale, which oversaw the trial.
He continued, “People think that if you enter a treatment centre, you’ll leave in a coffin. We have a great message: a treatment centre is a place where you can recover and that you leave alive.”
Full results are expected by early October and will appear in a peer reviewed journal soon thereafter.