U.S. to send experimental Ebola treatment to Congo: official

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S.

Reuters May 24, 2018 02:07:38 IST
U.S. to send experimental Ebola treatment to Congo: official

US to send experimental Ebola treatment to Congo official

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. health authorities said on Wednesday they were preparing to send an experimental Ebola treatment to the Democratic Republic of Congo for use in a clinical trial aimed at stemming an outbreak in the country that has spread to Mbandaka, a city of about 1.5 million people.

The trial would test the effectiveness of a treatment called mAb114 against the highly contagious virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in a telephone interview.

He said mAb114 was made from the antibodies of the survivor of an Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, Congo, in 1995.

Scientists in Fauci's vaccine research centre had just begun a first-in-man trial of the treatment last week when Fauci said he received a request from the health ministry in Congo asking that the treatment be used in a clinical trial there.

"We haven't even done the phase 1 yet," Fauci said, but added that he was "happy to do it," as long as the trial is done in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

The WHO is already in discussions over whether the government in Congo will give approval for the use of ZMapp, a similar antibody drug made by Mapp Biopharmaceuticals of San Diego. The agency last week said it could be available shortly.

A government spokeswoman said on Wednesday Congo would first need the approval of an ethics committee before it can use any experimental treatment.

The NIH treatment is a passive antibody. It works by transferring antibodies made by a survivor of a disease to a person who has not been exposed. "It has the effect of a vaccine," Fauci said.

He said the NIH drug has a few advantages over ZMapp, which he said is given in several doses and needs to be refrigerated. The NIH treatment can be turned into a crystallized form and reconstituted in the field with a fluid such as saline.

The United States has 90 doses of the drug it can make available shortly, and will have another batch by the end of the year, Fauci said.

The latest outbreak is Congo's ninth since the disease made its first known appearance near the northern Ebola river in the 1970s, and has raised concerns that the virus could spread downstream to the capital Kinshasa, which has a population of 10 million.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Additional reporting by Aaron Ross in Dakar; Editing by Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:


also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.