Congo-Kinshasa: MSF Starts Enrolling Patients in Clinical Trial of Potential Ebola Treatments

Health workers practice proper donning of protective gear during the training on vaccination against Ebola (file photo).

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in collaboration with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ministry of Health, has started enrolling patients in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of four potential Ebola-treatments in Katwa and Butembo in North Kivu. The treatments used in this randomized control trial are: Remdesivir, mAb114, REGN-EB3 and ZMapp.

The objective of the trial is to identify the most effective of the four products to treat Ebola patients and it started on 2018/02/07. However, MSF has been offering developmental treatments to patients infected by Ebola within its treatment centers since the beginning of the epidemic in North-Kivu (declared on 2018/08/01) under the WHO protocol of Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered and Investigational Interventions (MEURI).

The switch from MEURI to a clinical trial is a critical step, because a clinical trial can generate the scientific data needed to draw conclusions on how effective these treatments are.

A steering committee convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is overseeing the trial with the INRB (National Institute of Biomedical Research of DRC) and the NIH (US National Institute of Health), leading the trial in collaboration with other national and international actors.

Butembo and Katwa are currently the hotspots of the Ebola epidemic that was declared in DRC on 1 August 2018. The Butembo treatment centre can admit 96 people, while the Katwa centre which opened last month, has a 62-bed capacity.

Since opening the centres, MSF has admitted more than 2,100 patients of whom 250 were confirmed Ebola cases, with a 110 cases recovering.

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