New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta finds two investigational Ebola treatments effective. An antiviral drug called Remdesivir and another antibody treatment called ZMapp, both inhibited the growth of the virus strain in human cells in laboratory studies according to the research in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.
According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak in Congo is the second biggest outbreak of the disease in history with more than 1600 people killed by Ebola. The largest outbreak was in West Africa in 2014 when 11,000 people died.
“All of the treatments being tested in the current DRC outbreak were developed to fight Ebola viruses from previous outbreaks,” said Laura McMullan, Ph.D., CDC microbiologist and the paper’s lead author. “RNA viruses are always mutating – and because Ebola is an RNA virus it’s vitally important to make sure existing treatments work against the virus that’s making people sick now.”
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates. The viruses that cause EVD are located mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. People can get EVD through direct contact with an infected animal (bat or nonhuman primate) or a sick or dead person infected with Ebola virus.
Humans may spread the virus to other humans through contact with bodily fluids such as blood. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, and chills. Later, a person may experience internal bleeding resulting in vomiting or coughing blood. Treatment is supportive hospital care.