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article imageCanadian company stops Ebola drug trial for lack of results

By Caroline Leopold     Jun 19, 2015 in Health
Trials have ceased of what was thought to be a promising drug to treat West Africans infected with the Ebola virus. Canadian company, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, announced that its TKM-Ebola drug trials in Sierra Leone have been stopped.
A clinical trial for what was once hailed as a promising treatment of Ebola drug has been halted. The Canadian Press reports Tekmira Pharmaceuticals announced Friday that it has stopped the Phase 2 trial of its TKM-Ebola drug. The publicly stated reason for abandoning the trial was that the experimental drug offered no overall benefit.
Dr. Peter Horby from the University of Oxford served as chief investigator and stated in a written release, "It is a great tribute to the team in Sierra Leone that the trial has been run so efficiently and that we now have substantial experience on the use of TKM-Ebola-Guinea in patients with Ebola." Tekmira stated that full study results will be "made available as soon as possible." It is unclear whether research on the drug will continue.
The experimental drug was designed to target the Ebola-Guinea strain, also known as "Ebola virus Makona," which is the virus responsible for the most recent epidemic in West Africa that began in 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and WHO data says that, to date, over 16,686 total cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in Guinea and Sierra Leone, with 6,372 deaths. Liberia has also been greatly affected, with about 4,800 deaths; however, the country has instituted effective infection containment and control measures.
Ebola Virus Disease refers to infection with a strain of Ebola virus, which is known to cause severe symptoms, including bleeding internally or from the eyes, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Ebola is associated with a disturbingly high rate of fatality. The most recent 2014 outbreak occurred in West African outbreak has been particularly severe in the spread and mortality rates from the disease.
TKM-Ebola had been thought to be a leading candidate to stem the Ebola epidemic among a very small field of potential drugs. Drugs undergoing testing in West Africa include Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.’s ZMapp, which is at early stages of testing. Fujifilm Corp. has Phase 2 trials underway for its antiviral drug, Avigan. According to public information posted about the trial, clinical data for Avigan may be released this summer or fall.
More about Ebola, Tekmira, Clinical trial, West africa, Canada
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