The Co-head on Social Mobilization at the Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL), Dr. Elizabeth Higgs, has said the experimental Ebola therapy drug, ZMapp, is "safe and effective."
According to Higgs, treatment with the drug is well tolerated, suggesting that it holds some promise as an Ebola treatment.
Dr. Higgs made the statement recently at the Ministry of Information press briefing in Monrovia.
She said "ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. based in San Diego, California, U.S.A, is a mixture of three different anti-Ebola antibodies. Antibodies are infection-fighting proteins produced by the body that attach to the surface of the Ebola virus and thereby prevent it from damaging the cell."
According to Higgs, the randomized, controlled study was designed to enroll up to 200 patients of any age with confirmed Ebola virus infection.
She said during 10 months of the study, which began on March 13, 2015, some 72 patients were enrolled, and that on January 29, 2016, the trial leaders closed the study because no more cases were expected.
The 72 participants included 54 from seven clinical sites in Sierra Leone, 12 from Guinea, 5 from two sites in Liberia, and 1 from the United States, she added.
"To assess how well ZMapp worked against Ebola, the PREVAIL team compared the number of deaths in each group at 28 days after enrollment.
In the study, 21 patients died - a mortality rate of almost 30 percent. The standard-of-care group had 13/35/ (37) percent deaths compared with 8/36 (22percent) deaths in the ZMapp group," Dr. Higgs said.
It can be recalled that in February 2015, the PREVAIL launched an Ebola vaccine trial in Liberia as their first study.
PREAVIL I and PREVAIL II tested an experimental Ebola treatment known as ZMapp in patients enrolled in West Africa and the United States. LINA SNS/JGT/TSS