Scientists were a step closer to an effective treatment for Ebola after two drugs in a clinical trial were found to significantly boost survival rates, the US health authority co-funding the research said.
Four drugs were trialled on patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is a major outbreak of the virus.
More than 90% of infected people can survive if treated early with the most effective drugs, the research showed.
Two experimental drugs –– Regen eron’s REGN-EB3 and a monoclonal antibody called mAb114 –– were both developed using antibodies harvested from survivors of Ebola infection. The drugs work by attacking the Ebola virus with antibodies, neutralising its impact on human cells.
The drugs will now be used to treat all patients with the disease in DR Congo, according to health officials.
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which co-sponsored the trial, said the results are “very good news” for the fight against Ebola.
They are the “first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality” for Ebola patients, said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.