It seems very soon a cure would be available for the dreaded and deadly disease which has claimed the lives of many mostly in West Africa.
Good news is that researchers at the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that a prototype drug, ZMapp, that has been urgently given to a handful of patients with Ebola has cleared an important test hurdle.
According to the scientists report, the drug test results showed that ZMapp cured lab monkeys that have been infected with the Ebola virus disease.
According to the Canadian researchers, 18 rhesus macaque monkeys given high doses of Ebola virus fully recovered after being given ZMapp, even when it was administered five days after infection.
The scientists informed that the drug reversed dangerous symptoms such as bleeding, rashes and high levels of enzymes in the liver.
They also stated that three “control” monkeys that had been infected, but not treated, all died within eight days.
ZMapp is being developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. of San Diego, California, partly in conjunction with the US Army and has so far been given to seven infected frontline workers.
Of these, two American doctors have recovered; a Liberian doctor and a Spanish priest have died; and a doctor and a nurse, both Liberian, and a British nurse, who has been flown to London from Sierra Leone, are still in treatment. The World Health Organisation, W.H.O, gave the green light on August 12, saying it was ethical to use experimental drugs in the context of this dangerous epidemic.
Stocks of ZMapp, which is derived from tobacco leaves and is hard to produce on a large scale, are exhausted, the company said on August 12.
Investigation revealed that the other main experimental drug for the disease is TKM-Ebola, being developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Vancouver, Canada, under a $140-million (105-million-euro) contract with the Pentagon.
It is currently in a Phase I human trial, the first step in the three-phase test process. In this phase, a drug is evaluated on healthy non-infected humans to see whether it is safe. Further phases test it for safety and also effectiveness.
According to the W.H.O, about 1,500 people have died in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone since the disease emerged in West Africa early 2014.