The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised Chimerix’ brincidofovir as an emergency treatment for Ebola and it has been taken by the first person diagnosed with the virus in the USA.
The company said that Emergency Investigational New Drug Applications (EIND) were granted by the agency for brincidofovir after requests were made by treating physicians. It was then confirmed that Thomas Eric Duncan, who is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and is reportedly in a critical but stable condition, has been treated with the antiviral.
Brincidofovir is in Phase III for cytomegalovirus and adenovirus infections and Chimerix says it is working closely with the FDA to finalise a clinical trial protocol to assess its safety, tolerability and efficacy in patients confirmed to have an infection with the Ebola virus.
Chimerix says it is working closely with the FDA to finalise a clinical trial protocol to assess the safety, tolerability and efficacy of brincidofovir in patients who are confirmed to have an infection with the Ebola virus.
Brincidofovir is the latest experimental antiviral used against Ebola, following Mapp Biopharmaceuticals’ ZMapp (supplies of which have run out) and Tekmira Pharamceutical's TKM-Ebola, which was granted fast-track designation by the FDA in March. However Tekmira’s shares have fallen back following the Chimerix news.
Spanish nurse infected
Meantime, a Spanish nurse has become the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside Africa.
The country’s health minister Ana Mato confirmed that the 40-year-old woman was part of the medical team that treated two Spanish priests who died last month of the virus. Authorities are trying to determine how exactly she contracted Ebola and whether proper medical protocols were observed when the priests were treated.
Ana Nicholls, healthcare analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said that “if security measures were in place then they clearly were not secure enough, suggesting that even within a modern healthcare system the disease could catch hold”. Given the nurse has also been on holiday with her family, she noted that there is a high chance that she has passed the disease on to others.
Ms Nicholls went on to say that with the USA also reporting the first case of Ebola transmission within its borders, “there is clearly a need to step up controls. Previous analysis with the flu virus suggests that banning flights isn't the answer, however, and in this case would make it hard to get aid to West Africa, where it is still most urgently needed”.