The U.S. and Liberian governments announced that the new Ebola treatment ZMapp is ready for human clinical trials. The drug was developed by Mapp Pharmaceuticals Inc. and contains three genetically modified proteins with the ability of blocking the Ebola virus, thus stopping the progression of the disease.
Up until now, ZMapp was used only in emergency cases. Both adults and children (regardless of age) can participate in the human trial. This applies to people who were allowed access to Ebola treatment units in Liberia or who are health care workers traveling back to the U.S. for treatment after having caught the disease while working in West Africa. This is the case of seven U.S medical and aid workers.
Adults and children who may have acquired the virus on U.S. territory from other infected people can also participate in the study. This is the case of two nurses who took care of patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who returned from Africa and died in a hospital in Dallas.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases considers that the trial won’t bare much importance in the U.S. This is why he is now trying to negotiate with officials in Sierra Leone, a country heavily affected by the disease, so he can include the country in the clinical trial.
The World Health Organization reported that up until now, 24,000 people were infected with the virus and more than 9,600 lost the battle.
Fauci’s team hopes to acquire 200 participants in order to finish the study by December 2016. The protocol consists of dividing the participants into two groups. One will receive three ZMapp injections over the course of three days while the other group will be given the current standard treatment: intravenous fluids, medication for any other present infections and therapy to control blood pressure and maintain a normal level of oxygen.
Each person will be monitored for one month after being released from the hospital. The team will use the data obtained from the two groups to see which one had better results.
Up until now, ZMapp was administered only under emergency authorization. Nine infected patients in the Unites States, Western Europe and Africa received this treatment and nearly all recovered.
Image Source: International Business Times