New research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows two investigational Ebola treatments being used in the ongoing outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are effective in laboratory studies.
The treatments – the antiviral remdesivir and antibodies in the ZMapp treatment – blocked growth of the virus strain causing the outbreak in human cells in the laboratory. The research suggests these treatments hold promise for allowing patients to recover from the deadly illness. The research will be published Tuesday, July 9, in Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Importantly, the study also shows that the lab test most often used in DRC and neighboring countries to diagnose Ebola – which was developed during the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak for use against a different strain of Ebola virus – appears to be accurate for the outbreak strain now circulating in DRC, which researchers are calling the Ituri strain. The Ituri strain and the strain that caused the West Africa outbreak are both strains of Ebola virus (formerly called Ebola Zaire).
“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.”
Read more at CDC