• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 9:10am

African demand for Ebola drug grows as it completely heals monkeys in lab test

Experimental medicine cures monkeys infected with the deadly virus

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 August, 2014, 10:03pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 August, 2014, 5:59am

Monkeys infected with the Ebola virus survived after being treated with an experimental drug in a study that suggests the drug may be effective even after severe symptoms are present.

Monkeys were given three doses of the antibody-based treatment ZMapp starting three to five days after being infected with a lethal dose of Ebola. All 18 monkeys treated with ZMapp survived, while three that were not given the medicine died, according to the results published in the journal Nature.

"It is a really, really important study" as it is the longest researchers have waited after infecting monkeys with Ebola to protect all of them with a drug, said Thomas Geisbert, a virologist at the University of Texas who was not involved in the research.

Some Ebola patients have been treated with ZMapp, though the maker of the experimental vaccine, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, said its supply was exhausted. Three health-care workers in Liberia have also been treated with the drug. Liberian officials have confirmed that one of them died.\

The current outbreak had made more than 3,000 people ill and killed 1,552 as of last Tuesday in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, putting it on a pace to cause more deaths than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined, and prompting the World Health Organisation to declare it a global health emergency.

More than 20,000 people may be infected with Ebola before the outbreak in West Africa was controlled, the WHO said.

The Mapp drug is one of several vaccines and drugs being developed. GlaxoSmithKline and the US National Institutes of Health are planning to start human trials of an Ebola vaccine as soon as this week. Inserm, the French national health institute, is talking with Guinea health authorities about human trials of drugs from Fujifilm Holdings and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals.

While previous research has shown various treatments can protect monkeys against Ebola, in most of the studies the animals were treated with the drugs shortly after exposure to the virus, before bad symptoms were present, Geisbert said. In the new study, however, most of the animals had fevers, abnormal blood cell counts, or other signs of disease by the time they were given ZMapp.

Geisbert, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study in Nature, said the next step would be to perform a safety trial of the medicine in humans.


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This article is now closed to comments

You are nothing more than a heartless, ruthless Nazi Racist. Go stick your intolerance way up your behind, you as*hole!
Quarantine with extreme prejudice. Snipers sans frontieres.
Crater the airfields. Mine the harbors. Anything leaves, sink it.
Civilization is a choice. Make it soon. Or don't worry about overpopulation again.
Gaia sez: too many africans. There are 200 million now. There will be 20 million in a year. That is progress.
The drug is actually from a Canadian Government lab. Zmapp is just commercializing the drug.
Beware. Too Little. Too Late. Read the following:
Dogs EATING corpses of Ebola victims in Liberia... and now the deadly virus has reached Senegal
Read more: ****www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2737684/Dogs-EATING-corpses-Ebola-victims-Liberia-health-teams-pile-bodies-shallow-grave-middle-night-locals-refused-permission-use-land.html#ixzz3BtCBBvym
Dogs are digging up the corpses of Ebola victims buried in shallow graves in Liberia and eating them in the street, villagers have claimed.
Furious residents of Johnsonville Township, outside capital Monrovia, raised the alarm after packs of wild dogs were spotted digging up corpses from a specially-designated 'Ebola graveyard', dragging them into the open and feeding on their flesh. 
It is the latest development in the epidemic, which was today confirmed to have reached Senegal.
The grisly scenes in Liberia came three weeks after government health officials - desperate to stem the country's rising infection rate - hurriedly buried the bodies despite a heated standoff with villagers who refused to give their permission to use the land.
But rather than resolve the dispute, Liberia's Ministry of Health burial team dug the graves at night to avoid further confrontation, making the infected bodies easy targets for scavengers, villagers say.
There are the other scavengers that eat the infected corpses dug up by dogs -- scavengers that include pigs, various flesh eating animals, including birds and various inse


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