In June this year, Tanzanian Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu warned that Tanzania was at high risk of an outbreak of Ebola after the virus killed at least two people in neighboring Uganda.
Ebola might soon be a "preventable and treatable" illness after a trial of two drugs confirmed significantly improved survival chances, scientists have mentioned.
"The situation in DRC is tragic, it's the second largest epidemic in history, with lots of deaths already, so we are grateful to our associates at the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders who were able to carry out the study", he said.
Fauci said that the trial was created to include 725 people, but was halted by an independent board when it had enrolled 681 people, because one of the drugs, REGN-EB3 by Regeneron, reached a critical threshold in success, while mAb114 was not far behind.
All Ebola treatment units will now use the two remaining monoclonal antibody drugs to help slash the death rate.
The authorities have widely deployed a vaccine made by the USA giant Merck - a formula called rVSV-ZEBOV that is unlicensed but has been widely tested for safety - to protect frontline workers.
In contrast, the overall mortality of those given ZMapp (the current preferred treatment) was 49%, while that of Remdesivir was 53%.
Researchers said more study is needed to nail down how well those two compounds work.
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The study is co-sponsored by the DR Congo's Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) and the U.S's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); carried out by an global research consortium coordinated by the World Health Organization; and supported by four pharmaceutical companies (MappBio, Gilead, Regeneron, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics).
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in addition to limiting therapeutics to REGN-EB3 and mAb114, patients who were randomized to ZMapp or remdesivir in the last 10 days now have the option, at the discretion of their treating physician, to receive either REGN-EB3 or mAb114.
"What this means is that we do now have what look like (two) treatments for a disease for which not long ago we really had no approach at all", he said. REGN-EB3 is developed by infecting mice with the ebola virus.
"The news today is fantastic.
We still see too many people not being found in time for benefiting from these therapies, people residing away from treatment centers", said Mike Ryan, Assistant Director General for Emergencies at WHO.
Jeremy Farrar, director of Britain's Wellcome Trust research charity, said the development would undoubtedly save lives.
Some 681 patients were enrolled in the trial as of August 9, 2019, with a total aim of 725 patients, the NIAID said.
NIAID said: "They are the "first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality". When caretakers gave the patients these intravenous (IV) infusions within an estimated one day of infection, only 11 percent of mAB114 patients and 6 percent of REGN-EB3 patients died, reports Donald McNeil Jr. for the New York Times.