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article imageEbola trials begin in Africa

By Tim Sandle     Nov 16, 2014 in Health
Scientists are to begin tests of antiviral drugs and transfusions of blood from Ebola survivors in the West African countries. The focus will be on countries worst hit by the viral epidemic.
In December 2014 three independent research projects will test Ebola treatments among the human populations at the epicenter of the epidemic. This is according to the medical charity organization Doctors Without Borders. The relief group stated that it will run human clinical trials at three different bases in West Africa: in Liberia, and in Gueckedou and Conakry, two towns in Guinea.
Outlining the projects, United Nations Ebola chief David Nabarro said, in an official statement, that he expects the trials to result in effective treatments for affected patients. He noted optimistically: “I am told there will be doses of vaccines available next year.”
With one of the trials, scientists from the University of Oxford in the U.K. will test the effectiveness of the drug Brincidofovir. This is an antiviral medication that is produced by Chimerix of Durham, North Carolina. The trial will take place in Liberia. With the second wave of studies, Ebola patients in Gueckedou, Guinea, will be administered a Japanese developed antiviral called Favipiravir. Finally, medics from Belgium will use the blood of Ebola survivors to infected patients in Conakry, Guinea. The blood based therapy is the most controversial of the different treatments.
Talking with the BBC, Peter Horby, an Oxford researcher who will help conduct the Liberian trial, said: "There’s both the humanitarian need, a tragedy for individuals and for communities and we need to do everything we can to offer some hope to those communities, " he added that "there’s also scientific need, we have these products which may or may not work in patients with Ebola and the only way we can test them is during an epidemic."
In related news, a new study suggests that 21 days may not be sufficient to completely prevent spread of Ebola. One research group argues that there is a 12 percent chance that someone could be infected after a 21-day quarantine period has elapsed.
More about Ebola, Africa, EVF, ehv, Virus
 
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