Medicins Sans Frontieres says it will host clinical trails in three of its Ebola treatment centres in west Africa, starting next month.

The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research will lead a trial using Fujifilm's antiviral favipiravir in Guéckédou, Guinea, while the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine will head up a study of convalescent whole blood and plasma therapy at the Donka Ebola centre in Conakry, also in Guinea. Finally, the University of Oxford, on behalf of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC), will lead a Wellcome Trust-funded trial of another antiviral, Chimerix' brincidofovir, at a site yet to be chosen.

MSF said the trials’ protocols are in the final stages of development “and are designed with a simple target of 14-day survival and with broad inclusion criteria”. The two drugs, brincidofovir and favipiravir, were selected “after careful review of safety and efficacy profiles, product availability, and ease of administration to patients”.

The charity said the protocols will ensure that “disruption to patient care will be minimal, that internationally-accepted medical and research ethical standards are respected, and that sound scientific data will be produced and shared for public good”. Initial results could be available in February 2015.

Peter Horby, chief investigator of the ISARIC-led study, said that “conducting clinical trials of investigational drugs in the midst of a humanitarian crisis is a new experience for all of us, but we are determined not to fail the people of West Africa. It has been a privilege to witness the extraordinary willingness of all the partners in this initiative to step outside their comfort zones in order to fast-track these critically important trials”.