1st effective treatments found for Ebola, scientists say

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

For the first time, researchers have identified two experimental drugs that "have clearly shown a beneficial effect" at treating Ebola, one scientist told NPR.

The preliminary findings stem from an ongoing clinical trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been battling an Ebola outbreak since last August. The study is assessing the efficacy of one antiviral drug and three different antibody treatments against Ebola.

After reviewing study data Aug. 9, researchers found two of the antibody treatments were substantially more effective than the other treatments. Patients who took these two drugs had a mortality rate of about 30 percent, compared to 50 percent for those who received the other two medications.

"We now have seen that there are at least two therapies that are showing a beneficial effect in prolonging the life or decreasing the mortality of Ebola virus disease," Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NPR. "It is certainly not a total cure at all, but it clearly has shown a beneficial effect."

Health officials plan to make the experimental drugs widely available at Congo's Ebola treatment centers. As of July 28, the World Health Organization has reported 2,671 confirmed and probable Ebola cases linked to the outbreak, including 1,790 deaths.

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