- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2019

A randomized trial of four Ebola treatments should be stopped so that all patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo receive two drugs that are working better than the others, an independent board said Monday.

The data and safety monitoring board found that patients receiving REGN-EB3 or mAb114 had a greater chance of survival, according to the National Institutes of Health.

As a result, patients who received two of the other candidates — ZMapp or remdesivir — within the last 10 days will have the option to receive one of the better-performing treatments, subject to their doctor’s approval.

The trial had enrolled more than 680 patients at four Ebola treatment centers in Beni, Katwa, Butembo and Mangina.

Although scientists won’t complete their analysis of the data until this fall, though “the existing data was compelling enough to recommend and implement these changes in the trial immediately,” the board said.

Ebola is a serious, often-fatal disease that is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads from human to human through the bodily fluids of people who exhibit symptoms.

The investigative drugs increase patients’ chances for survival and are a key weapon in the fight against the outbreak in the DRC, which has resulted in over 2,800 cases and killed nearly 1,890 people since it began in August 2018.

Responders are deploying an experimental vaccine from Merck, too, though aid groups have been held back by rebel violence and community mistrust in the region.

The World Health Organization recently declared the outbreak a global emergency, elevating the crisis and opening the door to greater aid.

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