Outbreak Alert: Several Experimental Drugs To Be Tested On People In Congo
The outbreak of Ebola in Congo is beginning to look even scarier for those infected. Authorities are now saying they intend to test several more experimental drugs on human beings in the area.
Last week, SHTFPlan reported that the experimental Ebola vaccine will be used immediately as health official attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus. More than 400 people have been vaccinated with the experimental vaccine and more than 800 contacts traced in the city of Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Use of the experimental vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, will now spread to the more rural regions of Iboko and Bikoro where the majority of cases have occurred, reported CNN.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever, seen mostly only in Africa, is one of the world’s most feared diseases. It begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Days later, some victims begin bleeding through the nose, mouth, and eyes. Depending on the strain of the Ebola virus, it can kill up to 90% of victims. There is no cure for Ebola. The virus is spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person. –SHTFPlan
Vaccination began in the urban setting of Mbandaka to “prevent an urban outbreak” as well as further spread along the nearby Congo river, to reduce “risk through the interior of DRC and surrounding countries,” Dr. Peter Salama, the deputy director-general of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program said Tuesday.
“Mbandaka is relatively safeguarded at the moment,” he said, adding that officials “haven’t seen an explosive increase in cases” and the teams have reason to “cautiously optimistic.” Salama did confirm the outbreak spread to Mbandaka after two brothers visited Bikoro to attend a funeral and traveled back to the city.
Salama said there have, so far, been 54 cases of Ebola reported in Congo, which unfortunately includes 25 deaths. Thirty-five of those case have been confirmed with laboratory tests. He also added that 47 of the cases were in the more rural regions of Bikoro and Iboko where control efforts will now be focused. “That’s where the next phase of vaccination must go.”
But the vaccine is still experimental, meaning it has never been tested on humans before. Of course, now, five additional experimental drugs designed to treat the Ebola virus, including ZMapp and Remdesivir, have now arrived in the country and will be trialed under strict experimental research protocols, Salama said.
This means they will have to be used as part of a clinical trial, with ethical review and informed patient consent. Officials expect to get formal approval for delivery of the potentially deadly drugs in the coming days.
In the meantime, it’s important to prevent oneself from contracting the virus. Unfortunately, health care workers are at the greatest risk as they try to cull the suffering: which is why they will be the first to get the experimental vaccine. For their sake, let’s hope it works better than this year’s flu vaccine.