The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has classified the Ebola virus (EBOV), which can cause hemorrhagic fevers with a high mortality rate, such as bioterror threat.
Therefore, the Institute of Medical Research of Infectious Diseases of the army of this country, has carried out an investigation that has allowed to develop a new treatment, effective in monkeys, to protect against the virus.
The objective of the research is to obtain new treatments that are economical and can be easily distributed to the areas where they are needed, even in remote and difficult to access places located in developing countries. Although its main intention is to protect the US military, the benefits would be extended to the civilian population.
The new drug, which combines three monoclonal antibodies -13C6, 13F6 and 6D8-, all of which had individually shown some protection against the virus in animals, seven monkeys were injected, of which three survived, while all the primates of the control group died.
Although only 43% of those infected with the virus were saved, all of them had already manifested the symptoms of Ebola before being treated and, in addition, the mortality rate of the infection reaches up to 90%, just as the researchers have remembered.
The new drug, which combines three monoclonal antibodies, saved 43% of infected macaques, while all animals in the control group died
The strengths of the research are that it has been done in macaques, a model very similar to the disease in humans, that the therapy began at a later time in the infection than in previous studies - which is important if there is a epidemic-, and that monoclonal antibodies have already been used in the treatment of other diseases and have a good safety profile.
However, it also has significant weaknesses, such as the fact that a virus adapted from a cell culture was used, less pathogenic in primates than the one found in nature, and that the drug only saved 43% of the animals.