‘Ebola is real’: Uganda to trial vaccines and shut schools early to contain outbreak Read more
A recent study shows that a combination of drugs used against Ebola virus slowed the progress of the virus in monkeys, confirming the theory that they should fight the disease.
The research showed the drugs effectively neutralised “the very first stages of infection”, when the virus enters the bodies of its human hosts and replicates. Scientists said the results gave them hope that future drugs could be used alongside vaccines in the fight against the virus.
“This research is a major advance in the battle against Ebola for those who are treating patients”, said Michael Omery, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, who led the study.
The drug cocktail was developed by research teams from the University of Oxford and the University of Oxford’s Department of Veterinary Medicine.
“As with any experimental research, there is always a potential for bias,” the study’s lead author, Dr John Blenkhorn, said. “Despite this, we believe this represents a significant advancement in our ability to find effective new treatment options for Ebola”.
The work was done jointly by Oxford researchers, including Blenkhorn, together with colleagues in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo and analysed published research on Ebola treatment.
Blenkhorn said that drugs with good safety-profile “may be particularly useful for treating patients in clinical trials, by enabling high doses to be used safely to treat patients while reducing the possibility of the drug developing resistance”.
He added that the findings would be of “great interest to infectious disease and vaccine developers who are working towards new treatment options”.
“This research is of particular utility to those developing drugs that might be used in clinical settings. These studies provide a unique opportunity to investigate the safety and efficacy of experimental