An experimental Ebola treatment drug is getting praise in Liberia after Liberian health care worker who contracted the disease recovered after taking the drug. The drug is called ZMAPP and the community is urging the release of the drug to the public.
The Associated Press via Chron reports that the physician’s assistant who contracted Ebola, Kyndy Kobbah, was expected to be released from hospital Saturday after she survived Ebola, which has been fatal in more than half the cases sweeping West Africa. Kobbah contracted the disease while working at a government-run hospital north of the capital. Kobbah was given the experimental Ebola drug, ZMAPP, and subsequently survived.
It is noted that ZMAPP had never been tested on humans prior to giving it to two Americans who contracted the deadly disease. Both American recovered from the disease. However, doctors have said there is no way to know whether ZMapp made a difference or if survivors like Kobbah recovered on their own, as about 45 percent of people infected in this outbreak have.
Many in the medical community and researchers are praising the drug stating that in trials using monkey subjects, ZMAPP cured all 18 of the monkeys. NPR reports the results from initial ZMAPP Ebola treatments are fantastic. A study involving 18 rhesus macaque monkeys, published Friday in the journal Nature, found that the drug saved 100 percent of the animals even if they didn’t receive the drug until five days after they had been infected. The study is the first to test ZMapp in a primate, which is considered a good model for how a drug might work in humans.
Gary Kobinger of the Public Health Agency of Canada who actually lead the study told NPR:
“I think it’s significant and a very important step forward in the fight against the Ebola virus. We could rescue animals who had advanced disease. That suggests the drug might be able to save people up to 11 days after becoming infected.”
It is noted that despite many years of attempting to create an effective treatment option for Ebola or a functioning vaccine, no current treatments are available. This makes the results from the ZMAPP studies all the more impressive. However, it should be noted that the drug has only been used on a hand full of human patients, two of whom died from the disease even after receiving treatment. However, the drug may be proven effective in early to mid-stage Ebola cases as a primary treatment option. More human studies are needed for an efficiency rate of the drug.