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DR Congo Ebola tsar delighted with drug breakthrough

the GOMA environment: A DR Congo expert at Ebola expressed his delight on Tuesday after researchers announced that two prototypes were increasing the chance of surviving a terrible disease.

Jean-Jacques Muyembe, newly appointed by President Felix Tshisekedi to coordinate a multi-year campaign against Ebola, said of the four confirmed cases in the eastern city of Goma, "two were cured" after 11 days of treatment.

Expressing his great joy, Professor Muyembe said, "This is a powerful message for us that Ebola is curable. The drugs are there today. "

On Monday, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said two drugs, out of four tested for Ebola patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had significantly increased survival rates.

The two drugs, known by their laboratory names as REGN-EB3 and mAb114, belong to a class of treatments called monoclonal antibodies, which are designed to bind to and neutralize the virus.

A total of 681 people were hired for the trial, which began in November.

Data from 499 patients revealed that mortality among those who received REGN-EB3 dropped to 29% compared to a typical death rate of 60-67% among those who were not treated.

The mortality rate for mAb114 was 34%.

A total of 1,892 deaths have been reported since the outbreak of the epidemic on August 1, 2018.

Goma cares

Authorities ruled in serious control last month when four cases emerged in Goma, a city of two million and a major transport center.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the epidemic an "urgent public health issue of international concern" – a move aimed at boosting global response.

Tshisekedi also named Muyembe, a veteran who was part of a team that explored the most famous Ebola attack in Zaire in 1976.

Doctors declined to say which medicines were being used to treat the two patients in Goma, pointing to the need for confidentiality in medical tests.

Muyembe simply said, “We now have two drugs, mAb114 and REGN-EB3.

"These are the two drugs we will use, because according to the results so far, these are the two drugs that are effective."

Two other drugs that were also tested were excluded from further use in the ongoing epidemic. They also reduced mortality, but did not approach similar thresholds for success.

The epidemic in the DRC is the deadliest after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2014 to 2016.

& # 39; Thank God & # 39;

Of the four cases in Goma, two were fatalities.

One was a pastor who went to the Ebola-affected city of Butembo to preach and return home with the disease.

The other was a gold miner, who died on August 2.

His wife Esperance Nabintu and their one-year-old son returned home after being treated successfully.

"Thank God," she told Nabint, who has nine other children.

"I was sick with Ebola, but now I'm healed while my husband died from it. Ebola exists – I felt it in my body. It kills, but you can heal quickly," she said.

"My husband died because he was taken to the ETC (Ebola Treatment Center) too late," she added.

Goma is the capital of North Kivu, a province besieged by militia groups that are the legacy of two wars in the Eastern Democratic Alliance.

The epidemic is concentrated in villages in northern Kivu and neighboring Ituri province.

But cases in Goma have raised deep concern given the increased difficulty in combating infectious diseases in cities where population density and mobility make it difficult to find and isolate people who have been in contact with a patient.

Successful testing of REGN-EB3 and mAb114 will contribute to a small but growing arsenal of Ebola medicines.

Authorities have widely used a vaccine made by US giant Merck – a formula called rVSV-ZEBOV that is not licensed but widely tested for safety – to protect front-line workers. Nearly 200,000 people have received earnings.

There is also debate over whether to include a second prototype vaccine made by a subsidiary of US-based Johnson & Johnson in this strategy. – AFP

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