A Congolese man is screened for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) at the Mpondwe border, Kasese District, Western Uganda, June 18, 2019. (Xinhua/Nicholas Kajoba)
Two new drugs tested on Ebola patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) show that more than 90 percent of patients can survive if treated within three days of showing symptoms, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.
The infected east of the country has remained a significant challenge since the outbreak was declared an international health emergency on July 17, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said at a UN briefing here.
WHO says the current outbreak is the second-deadliest and has killed more than 1,800 people in the DRC over the past year.
A randomized trial started in November last year compared four treatments, two of which showed significantly better outcomes than the others.
"Modifications have been made to the treatment of Ebola patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," said Lindmeier.
After the results, an independent monitoring board recommended an early end to the trial, and all patients with the disease in the DRC will now be treated with the two drugs.
"This is great news of course, and this news will save lives and move us closer to finding an effective treatment for Ebola," he said.
While the results are important tools against Ebola, the WHO said that the use of vaccines, as well as the two promising treatments alone, will nonetheless not stop Ebola.
"A total cure may not be possible even if you have a 100 percent effective drug, it still leaves the human factor of reaching care early enough," said Lindmeier.
He noted that prevention, surveillance, active case finding, and acceptance of team members and partners within communities are also critical in impacting survival rates.
Lindmeier said that people are encouraged to keep an eye on their loved ones and seek care immediately if probable symptoms arise.
It was the first-ever multi-drug trial for Ebola and WHO officials said it had been implemented in a very difficult setting in which there are more than 2,800 cases of Ebola. Enditem