Two existing treatments considerably reduce mortality linked to the Ebola virus disease, the World Health Organization said on Friday, which strongly recommends its administration to all people who suffer from this hemorrhagic fever.
This is the first time that WHO has made treatment recommendations for Ebola.
These “strong recommendations” relate to treatment “with mAb114 or with REGN-EB3” in patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD).
It makes the same recommendation for “newborns with unconfirmed Ebola virus disease, aged 7 days or less, born to mothers with confirmed EVD”.
mAb114 is a monoclonal antibody marketed under the Ebanga brand and REGN-EB3 is a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies.
These two treatments were approved at the end of 2020 by the American Medicines Agency (FDA) and are already used to treat Ebola patients.
"Patients should receive the recommended neutralizing monoclonal antibodies as soon as possible after laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis," the WHO said in a statement.
Studies have shown that both treatments significantly reduce Ebola-related mortality, WHO clinical team leader Janet Diaz told a press briefing in Geneva.
230 to 400 lives saved out of 1,000 infections
These treatments can save between 230 and 400 lives out of 1,000 people infected.
“WHO stands ready to help countries, manufacturers and partners to improve access to these treatments, and to support national and global efforts to make them more affordable,” the organization said.
In its guidelines, the WHO recommends, on the other hand, not to administer the ZMapp treatment (based on monoclonal antibodies) and the antiviral remdesivir.
The Ebola virus causes an often fatal disease.
The outbreak that raged between 2013 and 2016 in West Africa was the largest since the discovery of the virus in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, then Zaire), killing more than 11,300 people.
More than a dozen epidemics have affected the DRC, the deadliest of which killed 2,280 people in 2020. The virus is named after a river in northern DRC, near which the first epidemic broke out.
In addition to treatments, vaccines have been developed in recent years and are used to interrupt the chains of transmission.
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