The first trials for a cure against Ebola will begin at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treatment centres in Guinea and Liberia in December, the organisation announced today.
The trials, which will take place in three locations, will be led by three different research partners in two of the most affected countries, MSF said in a statement.
The University of Oxford will lead the trial of the antiviral drug Brincidofovir at the ELWA 3 Ebola treatment facility in Monrovia, Liberia; the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research will lead a trial using antiviral drug favipiravir in Guéckédou, Guinea; while the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine will lead a trial of convalescent whole blood and plasma therapy at the Donka Ebola centre in Conakry, Guinea, it added.
The World Health Organisation and health authorities of the affected countries will also take part.
The separate trials aim to find an effective therapy for the disease that has killed around 5,000 people in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment against a disease that today kills between 50 and 80 per cent of those infected,” said Dr Annick Antierens of MSF. “As one of the principal providers of medical care to Ebola patients in West Africa, MSF is taking part in these accelerated clinical trials to give people affected by the current outbreak a better chance of survival.”
The main principles and designs have been shared with the respective countries’ ethical authorities, and initial results could be available in February 2015.
Rwanda is among the countries that have dispatched medics to West Africa to help contain the worst ever Ebola outbreak.