Last summer saw the third largest Ebola outbreak on record. Headlines reported shocking numbers of causalities, and the race to find a treatment is on.
Ebola is a highly infectious disease with often fatal consequences. Symptoms include fever and internal bleeding. The disease is spread via contact with infected bodily fluids, and strict hygiene precautions are in place for those working with infected patients and in high-risk areas.
Democratic Republic of Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the current outbreak is the worst in the country’s history. Only the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa and the outbreak in Uganda in 2000 were more serious. Clinical trials for four types of Ebola treatment are being launched, and the drugs being tested include antiviral medicine and monoclonal antibodies. The trial aims to compare the efficiency of the drugs, and many of those suffering from the disease have already been receiving these drugs.
The treatment being prescribed includes one of four drugs, and although it is unusual to prescribe unlicensed drugs in large quantities other than for approved clinical trials, this move was agreed via the World Health Organisation (WHO) so medical staff could get their patients started on treatments as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, warfare in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo makes international relations complicated, and this is hampering progress. However, Congo’s National Institute of Biomedical Research is sponsoring the trial, and non-governmental organisations have been given access to the drugs.
Clinical trials are an essential part of medical research, and adaptive phase 1 clinical studies such as those offered by https://www.richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/adaptive-phase-i-studies/ involve the collection and analysis of relevant data. Researchers looking to develop new treatments can then build on existing solutions and specify specific areas which need development.
Countries such as the UK take the health of the nation extremely seriously and provide advice and help on safe travel by providing resources such as https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/before-you-travel/.
Other countries that have also seen outbreaks of Ebola are being invited to participate in the Ebola treatment trials, and it is hoped studies will begin immediately. Researchers collecting results and data are hoping for a way to standardise all results so they can start to compile evidence which can then be shared with those countries most in need.