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article imageZMapp drug shows further Ebola promise

By Tim Sandle     Oct 14, 2016 in Science
The results of a new clinical trial for Ebola Virus Disease have been published. The trial results indicate the medication was well-tolerated by patients and shows promise for tackling the virus.
ZMapp is a cocktail comprised of three antibodies intended to fight Ebola virus and was identified in January 2014. Its development was supported by health agencies around the world. Ebola is a topic that has been extensively covered by Digital Journal, especially around the time of the 2014-2015 epidemic in West Africa. Ebola is an unpleasant disease. According to Pharmaceutical Microbiology, after an incubation time that can stretch to twenty-one days, one of the common signs of the disease is bleeding from mucous membranes and puncture sites. If the infected person does not recover, death due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome occurs.
With ZMapp, the drug is a serum mixture of three humanized monoclonal antibodies designed to provide immunological protection against the Ebola virus. The initial antibody work came out of research projects funded by the U.S. Army during the early 2000s.
In October 2016, LeafBio, Inc., which is the commercial arm of Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc., announced results from the PREVAIL II clinical trial of ZMapp. The trial was carried out in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the U.S. The aims of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of ZMapp in treating Ebola.
For this, patients infected with Ebola were divided into two groups. One group received standard of care (that is hemodynamic monitoring, fluid and electrolyte replacement, and general medical support). The second group received the same care, and in addition they were administered ZMapp.
The study outcome was that the mortality in the ZMapp-treated patients was 40 percent lower (eight of 36; mortality 22 percent) compared with the mortality in patients receiving standard of care alone (13 of 35; mortality 37 percent).
A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine explains that the mortality differences provide a 91 percent probability that ZMapp is superior to standard of care.
Further study will be required to assess the effectiveness of ZMapp. One of the delays to making a final assessment is the difficult in finding and enrolling a sufficient number of patients. However, the current progress is encouraging.
In a statement, Dr. Kevin Whaley, CEO of Mapp Biopharmaceutical said: “The outcome of this truncated study is supportive of ZMapp’s antiviral activity in humans. Based on the preclinical and clinical results to date, Mapp will vigorously pursue further development and licensure of ZMapp as a treatment for Ebola.”
The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research paper is titled “A Randomized, Controlled Trial of ZMapp for Ebola Virus Infection.”
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